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Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 11;20(22). pii: E5628. doi: 10.3390/ijms20225628.

RgsA Attenuates the PKA Signaling, Stress Response, and Virulence in the Human Opportunistic Pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus.

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Department of Microbiology, Graduate School, Daejeon University, Daejeon 34520, Korea.
Soonchunhyang Institute of Medi-bio Science, Soonchunhyang University, Chungcheongnam-do 31151, Korea.
Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
Department of Systems Biotechnology, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Korea.


The regulator of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins play an important role in upstream control of heterotrimeric G-protein signaling pathways. In the genome of the human opportunistic pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, six RGS protein-encoding genes are present. To characterize the rgsA gene predicted to encode a protein with an RGS domain, we generated an rgsA null mutant and observed the phenotypes of the mutant. The deletion (Δ) of rgsA resulted in increased radial growth and enhanced asexual sporulation in both solid and liquid culture conditions. Accordingly, transcripts levels of the key asexual developmental regulators abaA, brlA, and wetA are elevated in the ΔrgsA mutant. Moreover, ΔrgsA resulted in elevated spore germination rates in the absence of a carbon source. The activity of cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) and mRNA levels of genes encoding PKA signaling elements are elevated by ΔrgsA. In addition, mRNA levels of genes associated with stress-response signaling increased with the lack of rgsA, and the ΔrgsA spores showed enhanced tolerance against oxidative stressors. Comparative transcriptomic analyses revealed that the ΔrgsA mutant showed higher mRNA levels of gliotoxin (GT) biosynthetic genes. Accordingly, the rgsA null mutant exhibited increased production of GT and elevated virulence in the mouse. Conversely, the majority of genes encoding glucan degrading enzymes were down-regulated by ΔrgsA, and endoglucanase activities were reduced. In summary, RgsA plays multiple roles, governing growth, development, stress responses, virulence, and external polymer degradation-likely by attenuating PKA signaling.


Aspergillus fumigatus; RGS; development; human pathogenic fungi; stress response; transcriptomic analysis; virulence

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