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Fungal Genet Biol. 2003 Mar;38(2):175-86.

Specific induction and carbon/nitrogen repression of arginine catabolism gene of Aspergillus nidulans--functional in vivo analysis of the otaA promoter.

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Department of Genetics, Warsaw University, ul. PawiƄskiego 5A, 02-106, Warsaw, Poland.


The arginine catabolism gene otaA encoding ornithine transaminase (OTAse) is specifically induced by arginine and is under the control of the broad-domain carbon and nitrogen repression systems. Arginine induction is mediated by a product of arcA gene coding for Zn(2)C(6) activator. We have identified a region responsible for arginine induction in the otaA promoter (AnUAS(arg)). Deletions within this region result in non-inducibility of OTAse by arginine, whether in an arcA(+) strain or in the presence of the arcA(d)47 gain of function allele. AnUAS(arg) is very similar to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae UAS(arg), a sequence bound by the Zn(2)C(6) activator (ArgRIIp), acting in a complex with two MADS-box proteins (McmIp and ArgRIp). We demonstrate here that two CREA in vitro binding sites in the otaA promoter are functional in vivo. CREA is directly involved in carbon repression of the otaA gene and it also reduces its basal level of expression. Although AREA binds to the otaA promoter in vitro, it probably does not participate in nitrogen metabolite repression of the gene in vivo. We show here that another putative negatively acting GATA factor AREB participates directly or indirectly in otaA nitrogen repression. We also demonstrate that the high levels of OTAse activity are an important factor in the suppression of proline auxotrophic mutations. This suppression can be achieved neither by growing of the proline auxotroph under carbon/nitrogen derepressing conditions nor by introducing of a creA(d) mutation.

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