Phosphoproteomic and transcriptomic analyses reveal multiple functions for Aspergillus nidulans MpkA independent of cell wall stress

Cynthia L. Chelius, Liliane F.C. Ribeiro, Walker Huso, Jyothi Kumar, Stephen Lincoln, Bao Tran, Young Ah Goo, Ranjan Srivastava, Steven D. Harris, Mark R. Marten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The protein kinase MpkA plays a prominent role in the cell wall integrity signaling (CWIS) pathway, acting as the terminal MAPK activating expression of genes which encode cell wall biosynthetic enzymes and other repair functions. Numerous studies focus on MpkA function during cell wall perturbation. Here, we focus on the role MpkA plays outside of cell wall stress, during steady state growth. In an effort to seek other, as yet unknown, connections to this pathway, an mpkA deletion mutant (ΔmpkA) was subjected to phosphoproteomic and transcriptomic analysis. When compared to the control (isogenic parent of ΔmpkA), there is strong evidence suggesting MpkA is involved with maintaining cell wall strength, branching regulation, and the iron starvation pathway, among others. Particle-size analysis during shake flask growth revealed ΔmpkA mycelia were about 4 times smaller than the control strain and more than 90 cell wall related genes show significantly altered expression levels. The deletion mutant had a significantly higher branching rate than the control and phosphoproteomic results show putative branching-regulation proteins, such as CotA, LagA, and Cdc24, have a significantly different level of phosphorylation. When grown in iron limited conditions, ΔmpkA had no difference in growth rate or production of siderophores, whereas the control strain showed decreased growth rate and increased siderophore production. Transcriptomic data revealed over 25 iron related genes with altered transcript levels. Results suggest MpkA is involved with regulation of broad cellular functions in the absence of stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Aspergillus nidulans
  • Branching
  • Cell wall
  • Iron regulation
  • MpkA
  • Multi-omics


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