BMC Genomics 2015, null:478

Core oxidative stress response in Aspergillus nidulans

Tamás Emri, Vera Szarvas, Erzsébet Orosz, Károly Antal, HeeSoo Park, Kap-Hoon Han, Jae-Hyuk Yu, István Pócsi.
Background: The b-Zip transcription factor AtfA plays a key role in regulating stress responses in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. To identify the core regulons of AtfA, we examined genome-wide expression changes caused by various stresses in the presence/absence of AtfA using A. nidulans microarrays. We also intended to address the intriguing question regarding the existence of core environmental stress response in this important model eukaryote. Results: Examination of the genome wide expression changes caused by five different oxidative stress conditions in wild type and the atfA null mutant has identified a significant number of stereotypically regulated genes (Core Oxidative Stress Response genes). The deletion of atfA increased the oxidative stress sensitivity of A. nidulans and affected mRNA accumulation of several genes under both unstressed and stressed conditions. The numbers of genes under the AtfA control appear to be specific to a stress-type. We also found that both oxidative and salt stresses induced expression of some secondary metabolite gene clusters and the deletion of atfA enhanced the stress responsiveness of additional clusters. Moreover, certain clusters were down-regulated by the stresses tested. Conclusion: Our data suggest that the observed co-regulations were most likely consequences of the overlapping physiological effects of the stressors and not of the existence of a general environmental stress response. The function of AtfA in governing various stress responses is much smaller than anticipated and/or other regulators may play a redundant or overlapping role with AtfA. Both stress inducible and stress repressive regulations of secondary metabolism seem to be frequent features in A. nidulans.