Sequence, exon-intron organization, transcription and mutational analysis of prnA, the gene encoding the transcriptional activator of the prn gene cluster in Aspergillus nidulans

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Abstract

Summary

The prnA gene codes for a transcriptional activator that mediates proline induction of four other genes involved in proline utilization as a nitrogen and/or carbon source in Aspergillus nidulans. In this paper, we present the genomic and cDNA sequence and the transcript map of prnA. The PrnA protein belongs to the Zn binuclear cluster family of transcriptional activators. The gene shows a striking intron-exon organization, with the putative nuclear localization sequence and the Zn cluster domain in discrete exons. Although the protein sequence presents some interesting similarities with the isofunctional protein of Saccharomyces cerevisiæ Put3p, a higher degree of similarity is found with a functionally unrelated protein Thi1 of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. A number of mutations mapping in the prnA gene were sequenced. This comprises a deletion that results in an almost complete loss of the prnA-specific mRNA, a mutation in the putative nuclear localization signal, a proline to leucine mutation in the second loop of the zinc cluster and a cold-sensitive mutation in the so-called 'central region'. Other complete or partial loss of function mutations map in regions of unknown function. We establish that the transcription of the gene is neither self-regulated nor significantly affected by carbon and/or nitrogen metabolite repression.

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