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Plant Cell. 1990 Aug;2(8):731-9.

abaA controls phialide differentiation in Aspergillus nidulans.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.


Aspergillus nidulans is an ascomycetous fungus that reproduces asexually by forming multicellular conidiophores and uninucleate spores called conidia. Loss of function mutations in the abacus A (abaA) regulatory locus result in formation of aberrant conidiophores that fail to produce conidia. Wild-type conidiophores form two tiers of sterigmata. The first tier, metulae, divide to produce the second tier, phialides. Phialides are sporogenous cells that produce conidia through a specialized apical budding process. We have examined conidiophore development in an abaA- strain at the ultrastructural level. The results showed that in the mutant metulae produce supernumerary tiers of cells with metula-like, rather than phialide-like, properties. Temperature shift experiments with an abaA14ts strain demonstrated that abaA+ function induced phialide formation by the aberrant abacus cells and was continuously required for maintenance of phialide function. In the absence of abaA+ activity, metulae simply proliferated and later developmental steps never occurred. We conclude that abaA+ directs the differentiation of phialides and is continuously required for maintenance of their function.

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