Aspergilli are ubiquitous soil-borne fungi growing within or on the surface of numerous organic substrates. Growth within a substrate or growth on the surface correlates to different growth conditions for the hyphae due to significant changes in oxygen or reactive oxygen species levels and variations in humidity or temperature. The production of air-borne spores is supported by the substrate-air interphase and also requires a sensing system to adapt appropriately. Here we focus on light as important parameter for the mycelium to discriminate between different habitats. The fungal 'eye' includes several light sensors which react to a broad plethora of wavelengths. Aspergillus nidulans light receptors comprise a phytochrome for red-light sensing, white collar-like blue-light signaling proteins, a putative green-light sensing opsin and a cryptochrome/photolyase as distinct sensory systems. Red- and blue-light receptors are assembled into a light-sensing protein complex. Light receptors transmit their signal to a number of other regulatory proteins including a bridging protein, VeA, as part of a trimeric complex. VeA plays a central role in the balance of asexual and sexual development and in the coordination of morphogenesis and secondary metabolism.
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