Evolutionary conservation of a core fungal phosphate homeostasis pathway coupled to development in Blastocladiella emersonii

André L. Gomes-Vieira, Jeremy G. Wideman, Lisvane Paes-Vieira, Suely L. Gomes, Thomas A. Richards, José Roberto Meyer-Fernandes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae elicits a transcriptional response to phosphate (P i ) depletion. To determine the origins of the phosphate response (PHO) system, we bioinformatically identified putative PHO components in the predicted proteomes of diverse fungi. Our results suggest that the PHO system is ancient; however, components have been expanded or lost in different fungal lineages. To show that a similar physiological response is present in deeply-diverging fungi we examined the transcriptional and physiological response of PHO genes to P i depletion in the blastocladiomycete Blastocladiella emersonii. Our physiological experiments indicate that B. emersonii relies solely on high-affinity Na + -independent Pho84-like transporters. In response to P i depletion, BePho84 paralogues were 4–8-fold transcriptionally upregulated, whereas several other PHO homologues like phosphatases and vacuolar transporter chaperone (VTC) complex components show 2–3-fold transcriptional upregulation. Since P i has been shown to be important during the development of B. emersonii, we sought to determine if PHO genes are differentially regulated at different lifecycle stages. We demonstrate that a similar set of PHO transporters and phosphatases are upregulated at key points during B. emersonii development. Surprisingly, some genes upregulated during P i depletion, including VTC components, are repressed at these key stages of development indicating that PHO genes are regulated by different pathways in different developmental and environmental situations. Overall, our findings indicate that a complex PHO network existed in the ancient branches of the fungi, persists in diverse extant fungi, and that this ancient network is likely to be involved in development and cell cycle regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-32
Number of pages13
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
StatePublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Blastocladiella emersonii
  • Fungi
  • PHO pathway
  • Phosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics


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