Ryan Myers

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Calvo, Ana M.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Biological Sciences


Biology; Genetics; Molecular biology


Invasive aspergillosis by Aspergillus fumigatus is a leading cause of infection-related mortality in immune-compromised patients. This population group includes individuals infected with HIV, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant patients, and individuals with genetic immune deficiencies or hematological malignancies. The number of patients who fall into these categories is steadily increasing. In order to discover potential genetic targets to control A. fumigatus infections we characterized rtfA, a gene encoding a putative RNA polymerase II transcription elongation factor-like protein. Our recent work has shown that the rtfA ortholog in the model fungus Aspergillus nidulans regulates morphogenesis and secondary metabolism. The present study on the opportunistic pathogen A. fumigatus rtfA gene revealed that this gene influences fungal growth and conidiation, as well as production of the secondary metabolites tryptoquivaline F, pseurotin A, fumiquinazoline C, festuclavine, and fumigaclavines A, B, and C. Additionally, rtfA influences protease activity levels, the sensitivity to oxidative stress, and adhesion capacity - all factors important in pathogenicity. Furthermore, rtfA was shown to be indispensable for normal virulence using Galleria mellonella as well as murine infection model systems.


Advisors: Ana M. Calvo.||Committee members: Sherine Elsawa; Eduardo Espeso; Corinna Kashuba; Joel Stafstrom.||Includes illustrations.||Includes bibliographical references.


52 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type