Aspergillus fumigatus phosphoethanolamine transferase gene gpi7 is required for proper transportation of the cell wall GPI-anchored proteins and polarized growth.


State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China. [Email]


In fungi many proteins, which play important roles in maintaining the function of the cell wall and participating in pathogenic processes, are anchored to the cell surface by a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor. It has been known that modification and removal of phosphoethanolamine (EtN-P) on the second mannose residue in GPI anchors is important for maturation and sorting of GPI anchored proteins in yeast and mammalian cells, but is a step absent from some protist parasites. In Aspergillus fumigatus, an opportunistic fungal pathogen causing invasive aspergillosis in humans, GPI-anchored proteins are known to be involved in cell wall synthesis and virulence. In this report the gene encoding A. fumigatus EtN-P transferase GPI7 was investigated. By deletion of the gpi7 gene, we evaluated the effects of EtN-P modification on the morphogenesis of A. fumigatus and localization of GPI proteins. Our results showed that deletion of the gpi7 gene led to reduced cell membrane GPI anchored proteins, the mis-localization of the cell wall GPI anchored protein Mp1, abnormal polarity, and autophagy in A. fumigatus. Our results suggest that addition of EtN-P of the second mannose on the GPI anchor is essential for transportation and localization of the cell wall GPI-anchored proteins.