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Eukaryotic cell

Functional Analysis of Sterol Transporter Orthologues in the Filamentous Fungus Aspergillus nidulans.


PMID 26116213

Abstract

Polarized growth in filamentous fungi needs a continuous supply of proteins and lipids to the growing hyphal tip. One of the important membrane compounds in fungi is ergosterol. At the apical plasma membrane ergosterol accumulations, which are called sterol-rich plasma membrane domains (SRDs). The exact roles and formation mechanism of the SRDs remained unclear, although the importance has been recognized for hyphal growth. Transport of ergosterol to hyphal tips is thought to be important for the organization of the SRDs. Oxysterol binding proteins, which are conserved from yeast to human, are involved in nonvesicular sterol transport. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae seven oxysterol-binding protein homologues (OSH1 to -7) play a role in ergosterol distribution between closely located membranes independent of vesicle transport. We found five homologous genes (oshA to oshE) in the filamentous fungi Aspergillus nidulans. The functions of OshA-E were characterized by gene deletion and subcellular localization. Each gene-deletion strain showed characteristic phenotypes and different sensitivities to ergosterol-associated drugs. Green fluorescent protein-tagged Osh proteins showed specific localization in the late Golgi compartments, puncta associated with the endoplasmic reticulum, or diffusely in the cytoplasm. The genes expression and regulation were investigated in a medically important species Aspergillus fumigatus, as well as A. nidulans. Our results suggest that each Osh protein plays a role in ergosterol distribution at distinct sites and contributes to proper fungal growth.

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