Many filamentous fungi have developed a recognition system restricting hyphal fusion between members of the same species. Heterokaryon incompatibility (HI) is a self/non-self recognition system dependent on alleles at het loci. Incompatibility during hyphal fusion results in compartmentalisation of hyphal tips followed rapidly by localised programmed cell death (PCD). Aspergillus fumigatus is an opportunistic human pathogen able to cause fatal invasive infections and has been shown to undergo PCD under certain stresses including exposure to antifungal agents. An understanding of which genes play important HI roles in A. fumigatus could provide useful insight into potential apoptotic triggers and drug targets. To his end, compatibility groups are being defined through the use of pair-wise crosses of nitrate non-utilising A. fumigatus mutants generated from clinical and environmental isolates. Identified het domain genes have been knocked out in the genome-sequenced Af293 isolate using a PCR-fusion based technique to identify genes responsible for incompatibility. A transposon-based technique is also being used to interrupt random genes of A. fumigatus to generate a transposon library of spores that can be screened for compatibility grouping changes and which gene was responsible for any individual shift in behaviour. This work is funded by AlerGenetica SL and BBSRC.
Full conference title:
26th Fungal Genetics Conference
- Fungal Genetics Conference 26th (2005)