A Conserved C-Terminal Domain of the Aspergillus fumigatus Developmental Regulator MedA Is Required for Nuclear Localization, Adhesion and Virulence
Starting from three amino acid precursors, penicillin biosynthesis is catalyzed by three enzymes which are encoded by the following three genes: acvA (pcbAB), ipnA (pcbC), and aat (penDE). To identify trans-acting mutations which are specifically involved in the regulation of these secondary metabolism genes, a molecular approach was employed by using an Aspergillus nidulans strain (AXTII9) carrying acvA-uidA and ipnA-lacZ gene fusions integrated in double copies at the chromosomal argB gene. On minimal agar plates supplemented with X-Gal (5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside), colonies of such a strain stained blue, which is indicative of ipnA-lacZ expression. After mutagenesis with UV light, colonies were isolated on agar plates with lactose as the carbon source, which produced only a faint blue color or no color at all. Such mutants (named Prg for penicillin regulation) most likely were defective in trans-acting genes. Control experiments revealed that the mutants studied still carried the correct number of gene fusions. In a fermentation run, mutants Prg-1 and Prg-6 exhibited only 20 to 50% of the ipnA-lacZ expression of the wild-type strain and produced only 20 to 30% of the penicillin produced by the wild-type strain. Western blot (immunoblot) analysis showed that these mutants contained reduced amounts of ipnA gene product, i.e., isopenicillin N synthase. Both mutant Prg-1 and mutant Prg-6 also differed in acvA-uidA expression levels from the wild type. Segregation analysis indicated that for both mutants the Prg phenotype resulted from mutation of a single gene. Two different complementation groups, which were designated prgA1 and prgB1, were identified. However, the specific activity of the aat (penDE) gene product, i.e., acyl coenzyme A:6-aminopenicillanic acid acyltransferase, was essentially the same for the mutants as for the wild-type strain, implying that the last step of the penicillin biosynthetic pathway is not affected by the trans-acting mutations identified.