Transcription factor Afmac1 controls copper import machinery in Aspergillus fumigatus

Curr Genet. 2017 Aug;63(4):777-789. doi: 10.1007/s00294-017-0681-z. Epub 2017 Feb 18.


Copper (Cu) is an essential metal for all living organisms, although it is toxic in excess. Filamentous fungus must acquire copper from its environment for growth. Despite its essentiality for growth, the mechanisms that maintain copper homeostasis are not fully understood in filamentous fungus. To gain insights into copper homeostasis, we investigated the roles of a copper transcription factor Afmac1 in the life-threatening fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, a homolog of the yeast MAC1. We observed that the Afmac1 deletion mutant exhibited not only significantly slower growth, but also incomplete conidiation including a short chain of conidia and defective melanin. Moreover, the expressions of the copper transporters, ctrA1, ctrA2, and ctrC, and metalloreductases, Afu8g01310 and fre7, were repressed in ∆Afmac1 cells, while those expressions were induced under copper depletion conditions in wild-type. The expressions of pksP and wetA, which are, respectively, involved in biosynthesis of conidia-specific melanin and the late stage of conidiogenesis, were decreased in the ∆Afmac1 strain under minimal media condition. Taken together, these results indicate that copper acquisition through AfMac1 functions in growth as well as conidiation.

Keywords: Aspergillus fumigatus; Conidiogenesis; Copper; Copper transporter; Metalloreductase; Transcription factor Afmac1.

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus fumigatus / genetics*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / metabolism
  • Copper / metabolism*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Homeostasis
  • Melanins / genetics
  • Melanins / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Spores, Fungal / genetics
  • Spores, Fungal / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Fungal Proteins
  • MAC1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Melanins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Copper