Convergent Evolution and Orphan Genes in the Fur4p-like Family and Characterization of a General Nucleoside Transporter in Aspergillus Nidulans

Mol Microbiol. 2009 Jul;73(1):43-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2009.06738.x. Epub 2009 May 18.


The function of seven paralogues phylogenetically related to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Fur4p together with a number of functionally related transporters present in Aspergillus nidulans has been investigated. After deletion of the cognate genes we checked the incorporation of radiolabelled substrates, utilization of nitrogen sources, resistance to toxic analogues and supplementation of auxotrophies. FurA and FurD encode allantoin and uracil transporters respectively. No function was found for FurB, FurC, FurE, FurF and FurG. As we failed to identify Fur-related transporters for uridine, pyridoxine or thiamine, we deleted other possible candidates for these functions. A FCY2-like gene carrying in its 5' UTR a putative thiamine pyrophosphate riboswitch, and which encodes a protein similar to the pyridoxine transporter of yeast (Tpn1p), does not encode either a major thiamine or a pyridoxine transporter. CntA, a member of the concentrative nucleoside transporter family, is a general nucleoside permease, while no function was found for PnpA, a member of the equilibrative transporter family. Phylogenetic analysis shows that within the ascomycetes, the same transport activity could be catalysed by totally unrelated proteins and that within the Fur subfamily convergent evolution towards uracil and allantoin transport activity has occurred at least three and two independent times respectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus nidulans / genetics*
  • Aspergillus nidulans / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Multigene Family*
  • Nucleotide Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Nucleotide Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Fungal / genetics


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Nucleotide Transport Proteins
  • RNA, Fungal