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Back to the Salt Mines: Genome and Transcriptome Comparisons of the Halophilic Fungus Aspergillus salisburgensis and Its Halotolerant Relative Aspergillus sclerotialis

VIBT EQ Extremophile Center, Department of Biotechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 18, 1190 Vienna, Austria
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Genes 2019, 10(5), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10050381
Received: 22 April 2019 / Revised: 15 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics of Halophilic Microorganisms)
Salt mines are among the most extreme environments as they combine darkness, low nutrient availability, and hypersaline conditions. Based on comparative genomics and transcriptomics, we describe in this work the adaptive strategies of the true halophilic fungus Aspergillus salisburgensis, found in a salt mine in Austria, and compare this strain to the ex-type halotolerant fungal strain Aspergillus sclerotialis. On a genomic level, A. salisburgensis exhibits a reduced genome size compared to A. sclerotialis, as well as a contraction of genes involved in transport processes. The proteome of A. sclerotialis exhibits an increased proportion of alanine, glycine, and proline compared to the proteome of non-halophilic species. Transcriptome analyses of both strains growing at 5% and 20% NaCl show that A. salisburgensis regulates three-times fewer genes than A. sclerotialis in order to adapt to the higher salt concentration. In A. sclerotialis, the increased osmotic stress impacted processes related to translation, transcription, transport, and energy. In contrast, membrane-related and lignolytic proteins were significantly affected in A. salisburgensis. View Full-Text
Keywords: halophiles; halotolerant; fungi; transcriptomics; genomics halophiles; halotolerant; fungi; transcriptomics; genomics
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Tafer, H.; Poyntner, C.; Lopandic, K.; Sterflinger, K.; Piñar, G. Back to the Salt Mines: Genome and Transcriptome Comparisons of the Halophilic Fungus Aspergillus salisburgensis and Its Halotolerant Relative Aspergillus sclerotialis. Genes 2019, 10, 381.

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