We investigated the copper metabolism of Aspergillus fumigatus, which has not been characterized well. We cloned the putative copper transporters ctrA2 and ctrC from A. fumigatus and investigated the functions of these transporters in copper metabolism. Four putative copper transporters were identified in the A. fumigatus genome; ctrA2 and ctrC complemented CTR1 functionally and localized to the plasma membrane in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. ctrA2 and ctrC single-deletion mutants and a double-deletion mutant of ctrA2 and ctrC were constructed in A. fumigatus. The ctrA2 and ctrC double-deletion mutant exhibited a growth defect on Aspergillus minimal medium (AMM) supplemented with bathocuproine disulfonic acid (BCS) and was sensitive to H2O2. Furthermore, the deletion of ctrA2 and ctrC reduced superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, laccase activity, and intracellular copper contents. The activities of the ctrA2 and ctrC genes were up-regulated by BCS treatment. In addition, the deletion of ctrA2 up-regulated ctrC and vice versa. ctrA2 and ctrC were localized to the A. fumigatus plasma membrane. Although ctrA2 and ctrC failed to affect the mouse survival rate, these genes affected conidial killing activity. Taken together, these results indicate that ctrA2 and ctrC may function as membrane transporters and that the involvement of these genes in pathogenicity merits further investigation.
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