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Role of laeA in the Regulation of alb1, gliP, Conidial Morphology, and Virulence in Aspergillus fumigatus

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Pardo,  Julian
Metchnikoff Laboratory, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Max Planck Society;

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Galvez,  Eva M.
Metchnikoff Laboratory, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Max Planck Society;

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Simon,  Markus M.
Metchnikoff Laboratory, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Sugui, J. A., Pardo, J., Chang, Y. C., Müllbacher, A., Zarember, K. A., Galvez, E. M., et al. (2007). Role of laeA in the Regulation of alb1, gliP, Conidial Morphology, and Virulence in Aspergillus fumigatus. Eukaryotic Cell, 6, 1552-1561.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-91F4-C
Abstract
The alb1 (pksP) gene has been reported as a virulence factor controlling the pigmentation and morphology of conidia in Aspergillus fumigatus. A recent report suggested that laeA regulates alb1 expression and conidial morphology but not pigmentation in the A. fumigatus strain AF293. laeA has also been reported to regulate the synthesis of secondary metabolites, such as gliotoxin. We compared the role of laeA in the regulation of conidial morphology and the expression of alb1 and gliP in strains B-5233 and AF293, which differ in colony morphology and nutritional requirements. Deletion of laeA did not affect conidial morphology or pigmentation in these strains, suggesting that laeA is not involved in alb1 regulation during conidial morphogenesis. Deletion of laeA, however, caused down-regulation of alb1 during mycelial growth in a liquid medium. Transcription of gliP, involved in the synthesis of gliotoxin, was drastically reduced in B-5233laeAΔ, and the gliotoxin level found in the culture filtrates was 20% of wild-type concentrations. While up-regulation of gliP in AF293 was comparable to that in B-5233, the relative mRNA level in AF293laeAΔ was about fourfold lower than that in B-5233laeAΔ. Strain B-5233laeAΔ caused slower onset of fatal infection in mice relative to that with B-5233. Histopathology of sections from lungs of infected mice corroborated the survival data. Culture filtrates from B-5233laeAΔ caused reduced death in thymoma cells and were less inhibitory to a respiratory burst of neutrophils than culture filtrates from B-5233. Our results suggest that while laeA is not involved in the regulation of alb1 function in conidial morphology, it regulates the synthesis of gliotoxin and the virulence of A. fumigatus.