AbaA and WetA govern distinct stages of Aspergillus fumigatus development

Microbiology. 2011 Feb;157(Pt 2):313-326. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.044271-0. Epub 2010 Oct 21.


The opportunistic human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus produces a massive number of asexual spores (conidia) as the primary means of dispersal, survival, genome protection and infection of hosts. In this report, we investigate the functions of two developmental regulators, AfuAbaA and AfuWetA, in A. fumigatus. The AfuabaA gene is predicted to encode an ATTS/TEA DNA-binding domain protein and is activated by AfuBrlA during the middle stage of A. fumigatus asexual development (conidiation). The deletion of AfuabaA results in the formation of aberrant conidiophores exhibiting reiterated cylinder-like terminal cells lacking spores. Furthermore, the absence of AfuabaA causes delayed autolysis and cell death, whereas the overexpression of AfuabaA accelerates these processes, indicating an additional role for AfuAbaA. The AfuwetA gene is sequentially activated by AfuAbaA in the late phase of conidiation. The deletion of AfuwetA causes the formation of defective spore walls and a lack of trehalose biogenesis, leading to a rapid loss of spore viability and reduced tolerance to various stresses. This is the first report to demonstrate that WetA is essential for trehalose biogenesis in conidia. Moreover, the absence of AfuwetA causes delayed germ-tube formation and reduced hyphal branching, suggesting a role of AfuWetA in the early phase of fungal growth. A genetic model depicting the regulation of conidiation in A. fumigatus is proposed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus fumigatus / genetics*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / growth & development
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Wall / metabolism
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Microbial Viability
  • Mutation
  • Open Reading Frames
  • Spores, Fungal / genetics
  • Spores, Fungal / growth & development*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Trehalose / biosynthesis


  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Trehalose