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Genetics. 1995 Feb;139(2):537-47.

Identification of developmental regulatory genes in Aspergillus nidulans by overexpression.

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Department of Biology, Texas A & M University, College Station 77843, USA.


Overexpression of several Aspergillus nidulans developmental regulatory genes has been shown to cause growth inhibition and development at inappropriate times. We set out to identify previously unknown developmental regulators by constructing a nutritionally inducible A. nidulans expression library containing small, random genomic DNA fragments inserted next to the alcA promoter [alcA(p)] in an A. nidulans transformation vector. Among 20,000 transformants containing random alcA(p) genomic DNA fusion constructs, we identified 66 distinct mutant strains in which alcA(p) induction resulted in growth inhibition as well as causing other detectable phenotypic changes. These growth inhibited mutants were divided into 52 FIG (Forced expression Inhibition of Growth) and 14 FAB (Forced expression Activation of brlA) mutants based on whether or not alcA(p) induction resulted in accumulation of mRNA for the developmental regulatory gene brlA. In four FAB mutants, alcA(p) induction not only activated brlA expression but also caused hyphae to differentiate into reduced conidiophores that produced viable spores from the tips as is observed after alcA(p)::brlA induction. Sequence analyses of the DNA fragments under alcA(p) control in three of these four sporulating strains showed that in two cases developmental activation resulted from overexpression of previously uncharacterized genes, whereas in the third strain, the alcA(p) was fused to brlA. The potential uses for this strategy in identifying genes whose overexpression results in specific phenotypic changes like developmental induction are discussed.

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