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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(7), 1031; doi:10.3390/ijms17071031

A WDR Gene Is a Conserved Member of a Chitin Synthase Gene Cluster and Influences the Cell Wall in Aspergillus nidulans

1
Department of Applied Genetics and Cell Biology, Fungal Genetics and Genomics Unit, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Bioresources and Technologies Campus Tulln-Technopol, Tulln/Donau A-3430, Austria
2
Environmental Research and Innovation (ERIN), Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), Esch/Alzette L-4362, Luxembourg
3
Institute of Wood Science and Technology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), Bioresources and Technologies Campus Tulln-Technopol, Tulln/Donau A-3430, Austria
4
Health and Environment Department, Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH—AIT, University and Research Center Campus Tulln-Technopol, Tulln/Donau A-3430, Austria
5
KTH, School of Biotechnology, Albanova, Stockholm SE-10691, Sweden
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Patrick C. Y. Woo and Kun Yan Zhu
Received: 29 October 2015 / Revised: 30 May 2016 / Accepted: 23 June 2016 / Published: 29 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbial Genomics and Metabolomics)
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Abstract

WD40 repeat (WDR) proteins are pleiotropic molecular hubs. We identify a WDR gene that is a conserved genomic neighbor of a chitin synthase gene in Ascomycetes. The WDR gene is unique to fungi and plants, and was called Fungal Plant WD (FPWD). FPWD is within a cell wall metabolism gene cluster in the Ascomycetes (Pezizomycotina) comprising chsD, a Chs activator and a GH17 glucanase. The FPWD, AN1556.2 locus was deleted in Aspergillus nidulans strain SAA.111 by gene replacement and only heterokaryon transformants were obtained. The re-annotation of Aspergilli genomes shows that AN1556.2 consists of two tightly linked separate genes, i.e., the WDR gene and a putative beta-flanking gene of unknown function. The WDR and the beta-flanking genes are conserved genomic neighbors localized within a recently identified metabolic cell wall gene cluster in genomes of Aspergilli. The heterokaryons displayed increased susceptibility to drugs affecting the cell wall, and their phenotypes, observed by optical, confocal, scanning electron and atomic force microscopy, suggest cell wall alterations. Quantitative real-time PCR shows altered expression of some cell wall-related genes. The possible implications on cell wall biosynthesis are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aspergillus nidulans; WDR gene; beta-flanking gene; chitin synthase; collinear genes; cell wall Aspergillus nidulans; WDR gene; beta-flanking gene; chitin synthase; collinear genes; cell wall
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MDPI and ACS Style

Guerriero, G.; Silvestrini, L.; Obersriebnig, M.; Hausman, J.-F.; Strauss, J.; Ezcurra, I. A WDR Gene Is a Conserved Member of a Chitin Synthase Gene Cluster and Influences the Cell Wall in Aspergillus nidulans. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 1031.

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