Dominant mutations affecting both sporulation and sterigmatocystin biosynthesis in Aspergillus nidulans

Curr Genet. 1997 Sep;32(3):218-24. doi: 10.1007/s002940050269.


The initiation of conidiophore development in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans is a complex process requiring the activities of several genes including fluG, flbA, flbB, flbC, flbD, and flbE. Recessive mutations in any one of these genes result in greatly reduced expression of the brlA developmental regulatory gene and a colony morphology described as fluffy. These fluffy mutants have somewhat diverse phenotypes but generally grow as undifferentiated masses of vegetative hyphae to form large cotton-like colonies. In this paper we describe a genetic screen to identify dominant mutations resulting in similar fluffy colony morphologies. We have identified 36 dominant fluffy mutant strains and shown that 29 of these mutants have greatly reduced brlA expression as compared to wild-type. In addition, we have found that 19 of these mutants are not only developmentally altered but also fail to produce the toxic, carcinogenic, secondary metabolite sterigmatocystin. At least three of the mutants isolated result from dominant activating mutations in fadA which encodes the G alpha subunit of a heterotrimeric G-protein. Another of the mutants results from a dominant interfering mutation in brlA. We discuss the approaches taken to characterize these potentially important regulators of growth, development and secondary metabolism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aspergillus nidulans / genetics*
  • Aspergillus nidulans / growth & development
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Proteins*
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Mutation*
  • Spores, Fungal*
  • Sterigmatocystin / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors*


  • BRLA protein, Emericella nidulans
  • FADA protein, Emericella nidulans
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Sterigmatocystin
  • GTP-Binding Proteins