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Fungal Genet Biol. 2002 Oct;37(1):72-80.

The veA gene activates sexual development in Aspergillus nidulans.

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Basic Science Research Institute, Division of Biological Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Chonju, Chonbuk 561-756, Republic of Korea.


The previously isolated gene complementing the veA1 mutation was confirmed to be the veA gene. The determined nucleotide sequence of the gene demonstrated that there is an open reading frame (ORF) of a 573 amino acid polypeptide. The nucleotide sequence matched some clones of which functions were not assigned yet and the amino acid sequence matched that of Neurospora crassa VeA-related protein with 61% similarity. The nucleotide sequence of the veA1 mutant gene differed from that of the wild type gene by only one nucleotide and the nucleotide G in the initiation codon ATG of the VeA ORF was mutated to the nucleotide T. Then, the mutant ORF may use the 37th methionine codon of the wild type one as a new initiation codon. The veA transcript was present in the conidia and in mycelia cultured for up to 14h and expressed almost constitutively at an increased level throughout the asexual and sexual developmental processes, suggesting that it may act from a relatively early developmental stage. Null mutants of the gene never formed sexual structures, even under conditions where sexual development preferentially occurs in wild types. Over-expressors of the gene formed larger numbers of sexual structures with a much reduced number of conidial heads than a control strain (a veA1 mutant), even under conditions where wild type strains form little sexual structure but form conidial heads very well, such as in the presence of a salt at high concentration. Furthermore, over-expressors could form Hülle cells and cleistothecia, even in a liquid culture. These results indicated that the veA gene is a positive regulator in sexual development and simultaneously a negative one in asexual development.

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