The filamentous fungusAspergillus niger accumulates large levels of citric acid in the medium when grown under conditions favouring a high rate of sugar catabolism. With the aim of understanding the mechanisms involved in this process we investigated glucose transport in this fungus. To this end a medium was designed that enables growth of the fungus into a fine, hairy filamentous mycelium, suitable for transport studies. It was found thatA. niger contains a single, high-affinity glucose transporter when grown on a low (1% w/v) glucose concentration, but forms an additional low-affinity transporter when grown on a high (15% w/v) glucose concentration. Both glucose transporters exhibit decreased activities at low pH and are inhibited by citric acid. However, the activity of the low-affinity transporter is much less affected by these conditions. Two 2-deoxyglucose-resistant (dgr) mutants ofA. niger, which produce citric acid at a much lower rate than the parent strain, are impaired in the formation of the low-affinity transporter, but form the high-affinity transporter with higher activities. We conclude that the low-affinity glucose transporter takes part in the mechanism by whichA. niger responds to high extracellular glucose concentrations leading to citric acid accumulation.
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