ABC transporters from Aspergillus nidulans are involved in protection against cytotoxic agents and antibiotic production

A.C. Andrade, J.G.M. van Nistelrooy, R.B. Peery, P.L. Skatrud, M.A. de Waard

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This paper describes the characterization of atrC and atrD (ABC transporters C and D), two novel ABC transporter-encoding genes from the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans, and provides evidence for the involvement of atrD in multidrug transport and antibiotic production. BLAST analysis of the deduced amino acid sequences of AtrCp and AtrDp reveals high homology to ABC transporter proteins of the P-glycoprotein cluster. AtrDp shows a particularly high degree of identity to the amino acid sequence of AfuMdr1p, a previously characterized ABC transporter from the human pathogen A. fumigatus. Northern analysis demonstrates an increase in transcript levels of atrC and atrD in fungal germlings upon treatment with natural toxic compounds and xenobiotics. The atrC gene has a high constitutive level of expression relative to atrD, which suggests its involvement in a metabolic function. Single knock-out mutants for atrC and atrD were generated by gene replacement using pyrG from A. oryzae as a selectable marker. &Dgr;atrD mutants display a hypersensitive phenotype to compounds such as cycloheximide, the cyclosporin derivative PSC 833, nigericin and valinomycin, indicating that AtrDp is involved in protection against cytotoxic compounds. Energy-dependent efflux of the azole-related fungicide fenarimol is inhibited by substrates of AtrDp (e.g. PSC 833, nigericin and valinomycin), suggesting that AtrDp plays a role in efflux of this fungicide. Most interestingly, &Dgr;atrD mutants display a decrease in penicillin production, measured indirectly as antimicrobial activity against Micrococcus luteus. These results suggest that ABC transporters may be involved in secretion of penicillin from fungal cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)966-977
JournalMolecular and General Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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