Aspergillus nidulans swoF encodes an N-myristoyl transferase

Eukaryot Cell. 2002 Apr;1(2):241-8. doi: 10.1128/EC.1.2.241-248.2002.


Polar growth is a fundamental process in filamentous fungi and is necessary for disease initiation in many pathogenic systems. Previously, swoF was identified in Aspergillus nidulans as a single-locus, temperature-sensitive (ts) mutant aberrant in both polarity establishment and polarity maintenance. The swoF gene was cloned by complementation of the ts phenotype and sequenced. The derived protein sequence had high identity with N-myristoyl transferases (NMTs) found in fungi, plants, and animals. In addition, wild-type growth at restrictive temperature was partially restored by the addition of myristic acid to the growth medium. Sequencing revealed that the mutation in swoF changes the conserved aspartic acid 369 to a tyrosine. The predicted A. nidulans SwoF protein, SwoFp, was homology modeled based on crystal structures of NMTs from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans. The D369Y swoF mutation is on the opposite face of the protein, distal to the myristoyl coenzyme A and peptide substrate binding sites. In wild-type NMTs, D369 appears to stabilize a structural beta-strand bend through two hydrogen bonds and an ionic interaction. These stabilizing bonds are abolished in the D369Y mutant. We hypothesize that a substrate of SwoFp must be myristoylated for proper polarity establishment and maintenance. The mutation prevents the proper function of SwoFp at restrictive temperature and thus blocks polar growth.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / genetics*
  • Acyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Aspergillus nidulans / enzymology*
  • Aspergillus nidulans / genetics
  • Aspergillus nidulans / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Myristic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Myristic Acid / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein / methods


  • Myristic Acid
  • Acyltransferases
  • glycylpeptide N-tetradecanoyltransferase