Global gene expression reveals stress-responsive genes in Aspergillus fumigatus mycelia

BMC Genomics. 2017 Dec 4;18(1):942. doi: 10.1186/s12864-017-4316-z.


Background: Aspergillus fumigatus is a human fungal pathogen that causes aspergillosis in immunocompromised hosts. A. fumigatus is believed to be exposed to diverse environmental stresses in the host cells. The adaptation mechanisms are critical for infections in human bodies. Transcriptional networks in response to diverse environmental challenges remain to be elucidated. To gain insights into the adaptation to environmental stresses in A. fumigatus mycelia, we conducted time series transcriptome analyses.

Results: With the aid of RNA-seq, we explored the global gene expression profiles of mycelia in A. fumigatus upon exposure to diverse environmental changes, including heat, superoxide, and osmotic stresses. From the perspective of global transcriptomes, transient responses to superoxide and osmotic stresses were observed while responses to heat stresses were gradual. We identified the stress-responsive genes for particular stresses, and the 266 genes whose expression levels drastically fluctuated upon exposure to all tested stresses. Among these, the 77 environmental stress response genes are conserved in S. cerevisiae, suggesting that these genes might be more general prerequisites for adaptation to environmental stresses. Finally, we revealed the strong correlations among expression profiles of genes related to 'rRNA processing'.

Conclusions: The time series transcriptome analysis revealed the stress-responsive genes underlying the adaptation mechanisms in A. fumigatus mycelia. These results will shed light on the regulatory networks underpinning the adaptation of the filamentous fungi.

Keywords: Aspergillus fumigatus; ESR; Environmental stress; RNA-seq; Transcriptome.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / genetics*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / physiology
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal*
  • Humans
  • Mycelium / genetics*
  • Mycelium / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Transcriptome


  • Fungal Proteins