The filamentous fungi are an ecologically important group of organisms which also have important industrial applications but devastating effects as pathogens and agents of food spoilage. Protein kinases have been implicated in the regulation of virtually all biological processes but how they regulate filamentous fungal specific processes is not understood. The filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans has long been utilized as a powerful molecular genetic system and recent technical advances have made systematic approaches to study large gene sets possible. To enhance A. nidulans functional genomics we have created gene deletion constructs for 9851 genes representing 93.3% of the encoding genome. To illustrate the utility of these constructs, and advance the understanding of fungal kinases, we have systematically generated deletion strains for 128 A. nidulans kinases including expanded groups of 15 histidine kinases, 7 SRPK (serine-arginine protein kinases) kinases and an interesting group of 11 filamentous fungal specific kinases. We defined the terminal phenotype of 23 of the 25 essential kinases by heterokaryon rescue and identified phenotypes for 43 of the 103 non-essential kinases. Uncovered phenotypes ranged from almost no growth for a small number of essential kinases implicated in processes such as ribosomal biosynthesis, to conditional defects in response to cellular stresses. The data provide experimental evidence that previously uncharacterized kinases function in the septation initiation network, the cell wall integrity and the morphogenesis Orb6 kinase signaling pathways, as well as in pathways regulating vesicular trafficking, sexual development and secondary metabolism. Finally, we identify ChkC as a third effector kinase functioning in the cellular response to genotoxic stress. The identification of many previously unknown functions for kinases through the functional analysis of the A. nidulans kinome illustrates the utility of the A. nidulans gene deletion constructs.
De Souza, Colin P.; Hashmi, Shahr B.; Osmani, Aysha H.; Andrews, Peter; Ringelberg, Carol S.; Dunlap, Jay C.; and Osmani, Stephen A., "Functional Analysis of the Aspergillus nidulans Kinome" (2013). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 2705.