Molecular Genetics and Genomics

, Volume 284, Issue 6, pp 415–424 | Cite as

Global gene expression analysis of Aspergillus nidulans reveals metabolic shift and transcription suppression under hypoxia

  • Shunsuke Masuo
  • Yasunobu Terabayashi
  • Motoyuki Shimizu
  • Tatsuya Fujii
  • Tatsuya Kitazume
  • Naoki Takaya
Original Paper


Hypoxia imposes a challenge upon most filamentous fungi that require oxygen for proliferation. Here, we used whole genome DNA microarrays to investigate global transcriptional changes in Aspergillus nidulans gene expression after exposure to hypoxia followed by normoxia. Aeration affected the expression of 2,864 genes (27% of the total number of genes in the fungus), of which 50% were either induced or repressed under hypoxic conditions. Up-regulated genes included those for glycolysis, ethanol production, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and for the γ-aminobutyrate (GABA) shunt that bypasses two steps of the TCA cycle. Ethanol and lactate production under hypoxic conditions indicated that glucose was fermented to these compounds via the glycolytic pathway. Since the GABA shunt bypasses the NADH-generating reaction of the TCA cycle catalyzed by oxoglutarate dehydrogenase, hypoxic A. nidulans cells eliminated excess NADH. Hypoxia down-regulated some genes involved in transcription initiation by RNA polymerase II, and lowered the cellular mRNA content. These functions were resumed by re-oxygenation, indicating that A. nidulans controls global transcription to adapt to a hypoxic environment. This study is the first to show that hypoxia elicits systematic transcriptional responses in A. nidulans.


Fungus Fermentation Environmental stress Glutamate dehydrogenase Respiration 





Glutamate dehydrogenase


2-Oxoglutarate dehydrogenase


Tricarboxylic acid



We thank Norma Foster for critical reading of the manuscript. This study was partly supported by the Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution, and a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Japan.

Supplementary material

438_2010_576_MOESM1_ESM.xls (604 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLS 604 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shunsuke Masuo
    • 1
  • Yasunobu Terabayashi
    • 1
  • Motoyuki Shimizu
    • 1
  • Tatsuya Fujii
    • 1
  • Tatsuya Kitazume
    • 1
  • Naoki Takaya
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of TsukubaTsukubaJapan

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