The interplay between sexual development and amino acid biosynthesis in the ascomycete Aspergillus nidulans was studied. The growth and differentiation of four tryptophan auxotrophic strains that are unable to regulate their tryptophan biosynthesis, were examined. These strains are sterile on medium containing low tryptophan concentrations. Fruitbody formation was restored by supplementation with high concentrations of tryptophan and was promoted by supplementation with indole or auxin. Tryptophan supplementation resulted in auxin production of A. nidulans. Fertility of ascospores of the tryptophan auxotrophic strains could only be partially re-established. trpC transcript levels and enzyme activities remained stable in cleistothecia and conidiophore extracts as compared to those of mycelium, while levels of gene transcripts involved in glycolysis were lower in fruitbodies and conidiospores. Auxotrophic strains unable to form fruitbodies at intermediate amino acid supplementation levels turned on the cross-pathway regulatory system that is induced by amino acid starvation. We conclude that there is a connection between the genetic network of cross-pathway control and sexual development in A. nidulans.
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