PloS one 2016 Oct 511(10) e0163778 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0163778
Talaromyces marneffei, formerly Penicillium marneffei, is a thermally dimorphic fungus. It causes a fatal disseminated disease in patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Studies on the stress defense mechanism of T. marneffei can lead to a better understanding of the pathogenicity and the progression of the disease due to this fungus. The basic leucine-zipper (bZip) transcription factor gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, named yap1 (yeast activating protein-1), is known as a crucial central regulator of stress responses including those caused by oxidative agents, cadmium, and drugs. An ortholog of yap1, designated yapA, was identified in T. marneffei. We found that the yapA gene was involved in growth and fungal cell development. The yapA deletion mutant exhibited delays in the rate of growth, germination, and conidiation. Surprisingly, the yapA gene was also involved in the pigmentation of T. marneffei. Moreover, the mutant was sensitive to oxidative stressors such as H2O2 and menadione, similar to S. cerevisiae yap1 mutant, as well as the nitrosative stressor NaNO2. In addition, the yapA mutant demonstrated significantly decreased survival in human macrophage THP-1 compared to wild-type and complemented strains. This study reveals the role of yapA in fungal growth, cell development, stress response, and potential virulence in T. marneffei.