Schachtschabel, Doreen4; Arentshorst, Mark4; Nitsche, Benjamin M5; Morris, Sam4; Nielsen, Kristian Fog1; van den Hondel, Cees A M J J4; Klis, Frans M6; Ram, Arthur F J4
1 Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark2 Metabolomics Platform, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark3 Metabolic Signaling and Regulation, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark4 Leiden University5 Technical University of Berlin6 University of Amsterdam
The Tup1-Cyc8 (Ssn6) complex is a well characterized and conserved general transcriptional repressor complex in eukaryotic cells. Here, we report the identification of the Tup1 (TupA) homolog in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger in a genetic screen for mutants with a constitutive expression of the agsA gene. The agsA gene encodes a putative alpha-glucan synthase, which is induced in response to cell wall stress in A. niger. Apart from the constitutive expression of agsA, the selected mutant was also found to produce an unknown pigment at high temperatures. Complementation analysis with a genomic library showed that the tupA gene could complement the phenotypes of the mutant. Screening of a collection of 240 mutants with constitutive expression of agsA identified sixteen additional pigment-secreting mutants, which were all mutated in the tupA gene. The phenotypes of the tupA mutants were very similar to the phenotypes of a tupA deletion strain. Further analysis of the tupA-17 mutant and the ΔtupA mutant revealed that TupA is also required for normal growth and morphogenesis. The production of the pigment at 37°C is nitrogen source-dependent and repressed by ammonium. Genome-wide expression analysis of the tupA mutant during exponential growth revealed derepression of a large group of diverse genes, including genes related to development and cell wall biosynthesis, and also protease-encoding genes that are normally repressed by ammonium. Comparison of the transcriptome of up-regulated genes in the tupA mutant showed limited overlap with the transcriptome of caspofungin-induced cell wall stress-related genes, suggesting that TupA is not a general suppressor of cell wall stress-induced genes. We propose that TupA is an important repressor of genes related to development and nitrogen metabolism.