Title The putative C2H2 transcription factor RocA is a novel regulator of development and secondary metabolism in Aspergillus nidulans
Author Dong Chan Won, Yong Jin Kim, Da Hye Kim, Hee-Moon Park*, and Pil Jae Maeng*
Address Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Chungnam National University, Daejeon 34134, Republic of Korea
Bibliography Journal of Microbiology, 58(7),574–587, 2020,
DOI 10.1007/s12275-020-0083-7
Key Words C2H2 transcription factor, RocA, asexual development, sexual development, secondary metabolism, Aspergillus nidulans
Abstract Multiple transcriptional regulators play important roles in the coordination of developmental processes, including asexual and sexual development, and secondary metabolism in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. In the present study, we characterized a novel putative C2H2-type transcription factor (TF), RocA, in relation to development and secondary metabolism. Deletion of rocA increased conidiation and caused defective sexual development. In contrast, the overexpression of rocA exerted opposite effects on both phenotypes. Additionally, nullifying rocA resulted in enhanced brlA expression and reduced nsdC expression, whereas its overexpression exerted the opposite effects. These results suggest that RocA functions as a negative regulator of asexual development by repressing the expression of brlA encoding a key asexual development activator, but as a positive regulator of sexual development by enhancing the expression of nsdC encoding a pivotal sexual development activator. Deletion of rocA increased the production of sterigmatocystin (ST), as well as the expression of its biosynthetic genes, aflR and stcU. Additionally, the expression of the biosynthetic genes for penicillin (PN), ipnA and acvA, and for terrequinone (TQ), tdiB and tdiE, was increased by rocA deletion. Thus, it appears that RocA functions as a negative transcriptional modulator of the secondary metabolic genes involved in ST, PN, and TQ biosynthesis. Taken together, we propose that RocA is a novel transcriptional regulator that may act either positively or negatively at multiple target genes necessary for asexual and sexual development and secondary metabolism.