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Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 28;9(1):811. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37124-2.

RgsD negatively controls development, toxigenesis, stress response, and virulence in Aspergillus fumigatus.

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Department of Life Science, Daejeon University, Daejeon, 34520, Republic of Korea.
Soonchunhyang Institute of Medi-bio Science, Soonchunhyang University, Chungcheongnam-do, 31151, Republic of Korea.
Departments of Bacteriology and Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA.
Department of Life Science, Daejeon University, Daejeon, 34520, Republic of Korea.


The regulator of G protein signaling (RGS) domain proteins generally attenuate heterotrimeric G protein signaling, thereby fine-tune the duration and strength of signal transduction. In this study, we characterize the functions of RgsD, one of the six RGS domain proteins present in the human pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. The deletion (Δ) of rgsD results in enhanced asexual sporulation coupled with increased mRNA levels of key developmental activators. Moreover, ΔrgsD leads to increased spore tolerance to UV and oxidative stress, which might be associated with the enhanced expression of melanin biosynthetic genes and increased amount of melanin. Yeast two-hybrid assays reveal that RgsD can interact with the three Gα proteins GpaB, GanA, and GpaA, showing the highest interaction potential with GpaB. Importantly, the ΔrgsD mutant shows elevated expression of genes in the cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) pathway and PKA catalytic activity. The ΔrgsD mutant also display increased gliotoxin production and elevated virulence toward Galleria mellonella wax moth larvae. Transcriptomic analyses using RNA-seq reveal the expression changes associated with the diverse phenotypic outcomes caused by ΔrgsD. Collectively, we conclude that RgsD attenuates cAMP-PKA signaling pathway and negatively regulates asexual development, toxigenesis, melanin production, and virulence in A. fumigatus.

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