In a previous study, alcS, a gene of the Aspergillus nidulans alc cluster, was shown to encode a protein that belongs to the GPR1/FUN34/YaaH membrane protein family. BLAST screening of the A. nidulans genome data identified additional genes encoding hypothetical proteins that could belong to this family. In this study we report the functional characterization of one of them, AN5226. Its expression is induced by ethanol and ethyl acetate (two inducers of the alc genes) and is mediated by the specific transcriptional activator of genes of the acetate-utilization pathway FacB. Growth of a null mutant (ΔAN5226) is notably affected when acetate is used as sole carbon source at low concentration and in a high pH medium, i.e. when protonated acetate, the form that can enter the cell by passive diffusion, is present in low amounts. Consistently, expression of AN5226 is also induced by acetate, but only when the latter is present at low concentrations. 14C-labelled acetate uptake experiments using germinating conidia demonstrate an essential role for AN5226 in mediated acetate transport. To our knowledge this report is the first to provide evidence for the identification of an acetate transporter in filamentous fungi. We have designated AN5226 as acpA (for acetate permease A).

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