Autonomous plasmid replication in Aspergillus nidulans: AMA1 and MATE elements

Fungal Genet Biol. 1997 Jun;21(3):373-87. doi: 10.1006/fgbi.1997.0980.


With few exceptions, in eukaryotic organisms the presence of a chromosomal replicator on a circular vector molecule is not sufficient to confer on it the ability to persist and replicate extrachromosomally. However, it is possible to isolate from genomes of some filamentous fungi DNA fragments which can provide extrachromosomal maintenance of plasmids. In Aspergillus nidulans, two functional classes of such sequences can be distinguished: effective plasmid replicators (e.g., AMA1) and transformation enhancers (e.g., ANS1 or MATEs), which apparently are able to initiate aberrant replication, leading to vector rearrangement and multimerization and eventually resulting in chromosomal integration. We discuss the similarity of these events to DNA amplification in other eukaryotes. A model is suggested which accounts for the formation of effective replicating plasmids as a result of sequence amplification. The model is based on the observation that in some organisms, including A. nidulans and Schizosaccharomyces pombe, duplication of an inefficient replicator enhances its efficiency dramatically. Some structural traits of transformation enhancers in A. nidulans imply a role for topoisomerases in amplification and replication of circular DNA molecules. We discuss practical applications of replicative vectors for gene cloning and expression studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Aspergillus nidulans / genetics*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA, Fungal / biosynthesis
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics*
  • Gene Amplification
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plasmids*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics


  • DNA, Fungal

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X78051