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Open Access Research article

Identification of possible targets of the Aspergillus fumigatus CRZ1 homologue, CrzA

Frederico M Soriani1, Iran Malavazi3, Marcela Savoldi1, Eduardo Espeso4, Taísa M Dinamarco1, Luciano AS Bernardes1, Márcia ES Ferreira1, Maria Helena S Goldman2 and Gustavo H Goldman1*

Author Affiliations

1 Centro de Ciência e Tecnologia do Bioetanol and Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, 14040-903, Brazil

2 Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, 14040-903, Brazil

3 Departamento de Genética e Evolução, Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS), Universidade Federal de São Carlos, São Paulo, São Carlos, 13565-905, Brazil

4 Departamento de Microbiología Molecular, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas CSIC, Ramiro de Maeztu, 9. Madrid 28040, Spain

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BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:12  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-12

Published: 15 January 2010

Abstract

Background

Calcineurin, a serine/threonine-specific protein phosphatase, plays an important role in the control of cell morphology and virulence in fungi. Calcineurin regulates localization and activity of a transcription factor called CRZ1. Recently, we characterize Aspergillus fumigatus CRZ1 homologue, AfCrzA. Here, we investigate which pathways are influenced by A. fumigatus AfCrzA during a short pulse of calcium by comparatively determining the transcriptional profile of A. fumigatus wild type and ΔAfcrzA mutant strains.

Results

We were able to observe 3,622 genes modulated in at least one timepoint in the mutant when compared to the wild type strain (3,211 and 411 at 10 and 30 minutes, respectively). Decreased mRNA abundance in the ΔcrzA was seen for genes encoding calcium transporters, transcription factors and genes that could be directly or indirectly involved in calcium metabolism. Increased mRNA accumulation was observed for some genes encoding proteins involved in stress response. AfCrzA overexpression in A. fumigatus increases the expression of several of these genes. The deleted strain of one of these genes, AfRcnA, belonging to a class of endogenous calcineurin regulators, calcipressins, had more calcineurin activity after exposure to calcium and was less sensitive to menadione 30 μM, hydrogen peroxide 2.5 mM, EGTA 25 mM, and MnCl2 25 mM. We constructed deletion, overexpression, and GFP fusion protein for the closely related A. nidulans AnRcnA. GFP::RcnA was mostly detected along the germling, did not accumulate in the nuclei and its location is not affected by the cellular response to calcium chloride.

Conclusion

We have performed a transcriptional profiling analysis of the A. fumigatus ΔAfcrzA mutant strain exposed to calcium stress. This provided an excellent opportunity to identify genes and pathways that are under the influence of AfCrzA. AfRcnA, one of these selected genes, encodes a modulator of calcineurin activity. Concomitantly with A. fumigatus AfrcnA molecular analysis, we decided to exploit the conserved features of A. nidulans calcineurin system and investigated the A. nidulans AnRcnA homologue. A. nidulans AnRcnA mutation is suppressing CnaA mutation and it is responsible for modulating the calcineurin activity and mRNA accumulation of genes encoding calcium transporters.