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EMBO J. 1996 Jan 15;15(2):299-309.

FluG and flbA function interdependently to initiate conidiophore development in Aspergillus nidulans through brlA beta activation.

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


The Aspergillus nidulans fluG gene is necessary for the synthesis of a small diffusible factor that is required for the endogenously regulated induction of asexual sporulation that takes place during the development of an air-exposed colony. Previous work established that FluG is present at nearly constant levels throughout the Aspergillus life cycle, leading to the hypothesis that FluG factor is constitutively produced and development initiates after its concentration surpasses a fixed threshold. Here we show that overexpression of fluG can overcome the developmental block normally imposed on vegetative cells in submerged culture and leads to the formation of complex conidiophores that are remarkably similar to wild-tye conidiophores made by air- exposed colonies. This fluG-induced sporulation requires the activities of other early developmental regulatory genes including, flA, flB, flC, flD, flE, and brlA. The requirement for flbA in fluG-induced sporulation is particularly interesting because overexpression of flbA can also induce sporulation in submerged culture and this flbA activity requires fluG. The interdependence of fluG and flbA activities suggests a close relationship between the products of these two genes in controlling conidiophore development. In addition to the endogenous sporulation signal provided by fluG, several environmental factors, including air exposure, carbon or nitrogen stress, and increased osmolarity, can influence developmental activation. We demonstrate that each of these signals requires the brlA beta gene, but not brlA alpha, to initiate conidiophore development. We present a model to account for the complex genetic and environmental controls leading to the activation of brlA beta and sporulation.

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