Mannitol is essential for the development of stress-resistant ascospores in Neosartorya fischeri (Aspergillus fischeri)

T T Wyatt, M R van Leeuwen, J Dijksterhuis, Han Wosten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The polyol mannitol is one of the main compatible solutes in Neosartorya fischeri and accumulates in conidia and ascospores. Here, it is shown that biosynthesis of mannitol in N. fischeri mainly depends on mannitol 1-phosphate dehydrogenase (MpdA). Reporter studies and qPCR analysis demonstrated that mpdA is moderately expressed in vegetative hyphae and conidiophores, while it is highly expressed during development of ascospores. Deletion of mpdA reduced mannitol in whole cultures as much as 85% of the wild type, while trehalose levels had increased more than 4-fold. Decreased mannitol accumulation had no effect on mycelial growth irrespective of heat- or oxidative stress. Notably, conidia of the ΔmpdA strain had higher mannitol and lower trehalose levels. They were more sensitive to heat stress. The most distinct phenotype of mpdA deletion was the absence of full development of ascospores. Formation of cleistothecia, and asci was not affected. The ascus cell wall, however, did not dissolve and asci contained incompletely formed or aborted ascospores. Addition of the Mpd inhibitor nitrophenide to the wild type strain also resulted in disturbed ascospore formation. Taken together, these results show that mannitol has a role in sexual development of N. fischeri and in stress resistance of conidia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-24
Number of pages14
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Hot Temperature
  • Mannitol
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neosartorya
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Spores, Fungal
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Sugar Alcohol Dehydrogenases


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