The nitrate reductase gene (niaD) and nitrite reductase gene (niiA) of Aspergillus parasiticus are clustered and are divergently transcribed from a 1.6-kb intergenic region (niaD-niiA). The deduced aminoacid sequence of the A. parasiticus nitrate reductase demonstrated a high degree of homology to those of other Aspergillus species, as well as to Leptosphaeria maculans, Fusarium oxysporum, Gibberella fujikuroi and Neurospora crassa, particularly in the cofactor-binding domains for molybdenum, heme and FAD. A portion of the deduced nitrite reductase sequence was homologous to those of A. nidulans and N. crassa. The nucleotide sequences in niaD-niiA of A. parasiticus and of A. oryzae were 95% identical, indicating that these two species are closely related. Several GATA motifs, the recognition sites for the N. crassa positive-acting global regulatory protein NIT2 in nitrogen metabolism, were found in A. parasiticus niaD-niiA. Two copies of the palindrome TCCGCGGA and other partial palindromic sequences similar to the target sites for the pathway specific regulatory proteins, N. crassa NIT4 and A. nidulans NirA, in nitrate assimilation, were also identified. A recombinant protein containing the A. nidulans AreA (the NIT2 equivalent) zinc finger segments of niaD-niiA encompassing the GATA motifs. These results suggest that the catalytic and regulatory mechanisms of nitrate assimilation are well conserved in Aspergillus.
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