Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Calvo, Ana M.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Biological Sciences


The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus is an opportunistic human pathogen capable of causing

a life-threatening systemic lung infection known as invasive aspergillosis among immune compromised

patients. This group includes individuals infected with HIV, people with hematological

malignancies, solid organ transplant patients, persons with genetic immunodeficiency and cancer

patient undergoing chemotherapy. Due to the medical relevance of this organism, it is imperative

to discover novel genetic elements to design antifungal drugs against A. fumigatus dissemination,

virulence and survival during human infection. Previously, the putative arginine methyltransferase

gene rmtA was characterized in the model organism Aspergillus nidulans and the opportunistic

plant pathogen Aspergillus flavus, where it was shown to regulate several cellular processes

including morphological development and secondary metabolism. In this study, we characterized

the rmtA gene in A. fumigatus. Our results showed that rmtA influences vegetative growth and

conidiation of this medically important fungus. Deletion and over-expression of rmtA caused

slight reduction in vegetative growth compared to the wild-type strain. Moreover, rmtA is dispensable

during protease production and cell wall stress with SDS. Similarly, assessment of pathogenicity

done in Galleria mellonella resulted in reduced virulence in over-expression strain compared

to wild type. However, we found that rmtA is not involved in environmental stresses like

temperature, pH and osmotic.


56 pages




Northern Illinois University

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