Recent advances in the characterization of ambient pH regulation of gene expression in filamentous fungi and yeasts

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2004;58:425-51. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.58.030603.123715.


All microorganisms must adapt to the pH of their environment. One aspect of this adaptation, particularly important for organisms that grow over a wide pH range, is the ability to express appropriately genes whose roles ultimately involve functions at the cell surface or in the environment. Genes encoding permeases, secreted enzymes, enzymes involved in synthesis of exported metabolites such as toxins and antibiotics, and probably enzymes modifying secreted proteins posttranslationally all fall into this category. Here we discuss the most recent findings on the transcriptional regulatory system in fungi that enables such genes to be expressed only when the ambient pH is conducive to their ultimate functions. The intriguing issue of how pH is sensed and how the resulting signal is transmitted to the transcription factor involves at least one late endosome component. Proper functioning of the regulatory system responding to ambient pH is essential for fungal pathogenicity of both animals and plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus nidulans / genetics*
  • Aspergillus nidulans / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Endosomes / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / physiology*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • PacC protein, Aspergillus
  • RIM101 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • actin interacting protein 1