The function of a number of genes in the gliotoxin biosynthetic cluster (gli) in Aspergillus fumigatus remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that gliK deletion from two strains of A. fumigatus completely abolished gliotoxin biosynthesis. Furthermore, exogenous H2O2 (1 mM), but not gliotoxin, significantly induced A. fumigatus gliK expression (P = 0.0101). While both mutants exhibited significant sensitivity to both exogenous gliotoxin (P < 0.001) and H2O2 (P < 0.01), unexpectedly, exogenous gliotoxin relieved H2O2-induced growth inhibition in a dose-dependent manner (0 to 10 mu g/ml). Gliotoxin-containing organic extracts derived from A. fumigatus ATCC 26933 significantly inhibited (P < 0.05) the growth of the Delta gliK(26933) deletion mutant. The A. fumigatus Delta gliK(26933) mutant secreted metabolites, devoid of disulfide linkages or free thiols, that were detectable by reverse-phase high-performance liquid chromatography and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry with m/z 394 to 396. These metabolites (m/z 394 to 396) were present at significantly higher levels in the culture supernatants of the A. fumigatus Delta gliK(26933) mutant than in those of the wild type (P = 0.0024 [fold difference, 24] and P = 0.0003 [fold difference, 9.6], respectively) and were absent from A. fumigatus Delta gliG. Significantly elevated levels of ergothioneine were present in aqueous mycelial extracts of the A. fumigatus Delta gliK(26933) mutant compared to the wild type (P < 0.001). Determination of the gliotoxin uptake rate revealed a significant difference (P = 0.0045) between that of A. fumigatus ATCC 46645 (9.3 pg/mg mycelium/min) and the Delta gliK(46645) mutant (31.4 pg/mg mycelium/min), strongly suggesting that gliK absence and the presence of elevated ergothioneine levels impede exogenously added gliotoxin efflux. Our results confirm a role for gliK in gliotoxin biosynthesis and reveal new insights into gliotoxin functionality in A. fumigatus.