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Cytochrome c is not essential for viability of the fungus Aspergillus nidulans

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 16:17 authored by Bradshaw, RE, Bird, DM, Gardiner, RE, Brown, SC, Hirst, P
The filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans is an obligate aerobe, which is capable of anaerobic survival, but not anaerobic growth. Since cytochrome c forms an essential part of the oxidative respiratory pathway it was expected that mutants lacking this component would be non-viable. Gene replacement of one homologue of the cycA (cytochrome c) gene was carried out in a diploid strain. Benomyl-induced haploidisation of this diploid yielded all cycA+ haploid colonies, initially suggesting that loss of cycA was indeed lethal. However, use of an alternative unbiased method to recover haploids yielded viable, but slow-growing, cycA- mutants. Replacement of the cycA locus in the cycA- mutants was verified by Southern blotting. Spectral analysis confirmed the absence of detectable levels of cytochrome c, and respiratory insensitivity to cyanide suggested the absence of cytochrome c-dependent respiration. Growth parameters were consistent with those expected of a cycA- mutant. Compared to the wild type, the mutants grew slowly on fermentable carbon sources, did not grow on non-fermentable carbon sources, and produced higher levels of ethanol. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a filamentous fungus that remains viable after complete elimination of a functional cytochrome c gene. We propose that the mutants are viable due to their ability to ferment and to use alternative respiratory pathways.


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Molecular Genetics and Genomics








School of Health Sciences


Molecular Genetics and Genomics

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Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences

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