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Fungal Genet Biol. 2018 Jul;116:62-72. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2018.04.013. Epub 2018 Apr 26.

Gene co-expression analysis identifies gene clusters associated with isotropic and polarized growth in Aspergillus fumigatus conidia.

Author information

1
(a)Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; (b)Centre of Expertise in Mycology, Radboudumc/CWZ, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: tim.baltussen@radboudumc.nl.
2
(a)Department of Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; (b)Centre of Expertise in Mycology, Radboudumc/CWZ, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Aspergillus fumigatus is a saprophytic fungus that extensively produces conidia. These microscopic asexually reproductive structures are small enough to reach the lungs. Germination of conidia followed by hyphal growth inside human lungs is a key step in the establishment of infection in immunocompromised patients. RNA-Seq was used to analyze the transcriptome of dormant and germinating A. fumigatus conidia. Construction of a gene co-expression network revealed four gene clusters (modules) correlated with a growth phase (dormant, isotropic growth, polarized growth). Transcripts levels of genes encoding for secondary metabolites were high in dormant conidia. During isotropic growth, transcript levels of genes involved in cell wall modifications increased. Two modules encoding for growth and cell cycle/DNA processing were associated with polarized growth. In addition, the co-expression network was used to identify highly connected intermodular hub genes. These genes may have a pivotal role in the respective module and could therefore be compelling therapeutic targets. Generally, cell wall remodeling is an important process during isotropic and polarized growth, characterized by an increase of transcripts coding for hyphal growth and cell cycle/DNA processing when polarized growth is initiated.

KEYWORDS:

A. fumigatus; Germination; Isotropic growth; Polarized growth; RNA-Seq

PMID:
29705402
DOI:
10.1016/j.fgb.2018.04.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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