Aspergillus nidulans is a genetic model well suited for studying polarised exocytosis and long-distance transport mediated by actin and microtubules. Intracellular traffic resembles that of metazoan cells, yet the organism is haploid, genetically amenable and microscopy-friendly.
By combining genetic and biochemical approaches with in vivo multidimensional microscopy, we are investigating the organization and dynamics of the Golgi and endovacuolar systems, focusing on RAB and ARF GTPases, their regulators and their effectors. The Aspergillus Golgi is formed by non-stacked early and late Golgi cisternae that can be resolved by optical microscopy. We are studying the mechanisms of cisternal maturation in the Golgi, and specifically the mechanisms that determine the biogenesis of post-Golgi carriers in the TGN, as well as the different pathways for the exit of membrane and cargo from the endoplasmic reticulum. Our work has important implications for both medicine and agriculture (fungal pathogenicity to plants and humans is strictly dependent on exocytosis and fungal cells are sensitive to certain anti-tumour drugs) and major ones for biotechnology, as a substantial share of the industrial enzyme catalogue is produced with Aspergillus species as cell factories.