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Calcineurin Subunits A and B Interact to Regulate Growth and Asexual and Sexual Development in Neurospora crassa.

ABSTRACT

Calcineurin is a calcium/calmodulin dependent protein phosphatase in eukaryotes that consists of a catalytic subunit A and a regulatory subunit B. Previous studies in the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa had suggested that the catalytic subunit of calcineurin might be an essential protein. We generated N. crassa strains expressing the A (cna-1) and B (cnb-1) subunit genes under the regulation of Ptcu-1, a copper-responsive promoter. In these strains, addition of bathocuproinedisulfonic acid (BCS), a copper chelator, results in induction of cna-1 and cnb-1, while excess Cu2+ represses gene expression. Through analysis of these strains under repressing and inducing conditions, we found that the calcineurin is required for normal growth, asexual development and female fertility in N. crassa. Moreover, we isolated and analyzed cnb-1 mutant alleles generated by repeat-induced point mutation (RIP), with the results further supporting roles for calcineurin in growth and fertility in N. crassa. We demonstrated a direct interaction between the CNA-1 and CNB-1 proteins using an assay system developed to study protein-protein interactions in N. crassa.