Transcription Factor ADS-4 Regulates Adaptive Responses and Resistance to Antifungal Azole Stress.

Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

PubMedID: 26100701

Wang K, Zhang Z, Chen X, Sun X, Jin C, Liu H, Li S. Transcription Factor ADS-4 Regulates Adaptive Responses and Resistance to Antifungal Azole Stress. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2015;.
Azoles are commonly used as antifungal drugs or pesticides to control fungal infections in medicine and agriculture. Fungi adapt to azole stress by rapidly activating the transcription of a number of genes, and transcriptional increases in some azole-responsive genes can elevate azole resistance. The regulatory mechanisms that control transcriptional responses to azole stress in filamentous fungi are not well understood. This study identified a bZIP transcription factor, ADS-4 (antifungal drug sensitive-4), as a new regulator of adaptive responses and resistance to antifungal azoles. Transcription of ads-4 in Neurospora crassa cells increased when they were subjected to ketoconazole treatment, whereas the deletion of ads-4 resulted in hypersensitivity to ketoconazole and fluconazole. In contrast, the overexpression of ads-4 increased resistance to fluconazole and ketoconazole in N. crassa. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis, followed by quantitative reverse transcription (qRT)-PCR confirmation, showed that ADS-4 positively regulated the transcriptional responses of at least six genes to ketoconazole stress in N. crassa. The gene products of four ADS-4-regulated genes are known contributors to azole resistance, including the major efflux pump CDR4 (Pdr5p ortholog), an ABC multidrug transporter (NcAbcB), sterol C-22 desaturase (ERG5), and a lipid transporter (NcRTA2) that is involved in calcineurin-mediated azole resistance. Deletion of the ads-4-homologous gene Afads-4 in Aspergillus fumigatus caused hypersensitivity to itraconazole and ketoconazole, which suggested that ADS-4 is a functionally conserved regulator of adaptive responses to azoles. This study provides important information on a new azole resistance factor that could be targeted by a new range of antifungal pesticides and drugs.