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Fungal Genet Biol. 2008 Feb;45(2):117-26. Epub 2007 Oct 23.

Characterisation of Aft1 a Fot1/Pogo type transposon of Aspergillus fumigatus.

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F2G Ltd, Lankro Way, Eccles, Manchester M30 OBH, UK; The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK.


In recent years the filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus has become a significant cause of infection in man and as such has become the focus of much study. It is thought to be the leading mould pathogen in leukaemia and transplant patients and is responsible for mortality in a large number of individuals with immunological disorders. In an attempt to develop molecular mutagenesis tools for assessment of this organism, the genome of A. fumigatus was analysed to identify possible functional transposable elements. An apparently intact Fot1/Pogo type transposon with 65% identity to the active Tan1 element of Aspergillus niger was identified and designated Aft1. Aft1 is a 1.9kb element present in multiple (>20) highly conserved copies. It encodes a 332 amino acid transposase which contains all the functional motifs required for transposition. In addition, the transposase was expressed in cultures grown at 37 degrees C in all three strains assessed and excision analysis suggests Aft1 may be active and of use in transposon tagging experiments. Southern hybridisation patterns indicate that Aft1 is widely distributed amongst clinical isolates of A. fumigatus with considerable variation in genomic localisation. A comprehensive analysis of the genomic localisation of Aft1 in the sequenced strain AF293 show that one insertion is 30 bases upstream of a predicted gene encoding a G-protein coupled receptor. Expression analysis indicates that this gene has been inactivated by the insertion.

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