, Volume 54, Issue 5, pp 241-269

The effect of temperature on Natural Antisense Transcript (NAT) expression in Aspergillus flavus

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Abstract

Naturally occurring Antisense Transcripts (NATs) compose an emerging group of regulatory RNAs. These regulatory elements appear in all organisms examined, but little is known about global expression of NATs in fungi. Analysis of currently available EST sequences suggests that 352 cis NATs are present in Aspergillus flavus. An Affymetrix GeneChip® microarray containing probes for these cis NATs, as well as all predicted genes in A. flavus, allowed a whole genome expression analysis of these elements in response to two ecologically important temperatures for the fungus. RNA expression analysis showed that 32 NATs and 2,709 genes were differentially expressed between 37°C, the optimum temperature for growth, and 28°C, the conducive temperature for the biosynthesis of aflatoxin (AF) and many other secondary metabolites. These NATs correspond to sense genes with diverse functions including transcription initiation, carbohydrate processing and binding, temperature sensitive morphogenesis, and secondary metabolism. This is the first report of a whole genome transcriptional analysis of NAT expression in a fungus.

Communicated by A. Brakhage.