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Genetics. 2003 Nov;165(3):1083-93.

Suppressor mutations bypass the requirement of fluG for asexual sporulation and sterigmatocystin production in Aspergillus nidulans.

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Department of Food Microbiology and Toxicology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1187, USA.


Asexual sporulation (conidiation) in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans requires the early developmental activator fluG. Loss of fluG results in the blockage of both conidiation and production of the mycotoxin sterigmatocystin (ST). To investigate molecular mechanisms of fluG-dependent developmental activation, 40 suppressors of fluG (SFGs) that conidiate without fluG have been isolated and characterized. Genetic analyses showed that an individual suppression is caused by a single second-site mutation, and that all sfg mutations but one are recessive. Pairwise meiotic crosses grouped mutations to four loci, 31 of them to sfgA, 6 of them to sfgB, and 1 each to sfgC and sfgD, respectively. The only dominant mutation, sfgA38, also mapped to the sfgA locus, suggesting a dominant negative mutation. Thirteen sfgA and 1 sfgC mutants elaborated conidiophores in liquid submerged culture, indicating that loss of either of these gene functions not only bypasses fluG function but also results in hyperactive conidiation. While sfg mutants show varying levels of restored conidiation, all recovered the ability to produce ST at near wild-type levels. The fact that at least four loci are defined by recessive sfg mutations indicates that multiple genes negatively regulate conidiation downstream of fluG and that the activity of fluG is required to remove such repressive effects.

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