, Volume 64, Issue 6, pp 745-755
Date: 12 Mar 2004

Enzyme reactions and genes in aflatoxin biosynthesis

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Abstract

Aflatoxins are highly toxic and carcinogenic substances mainly produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Sterigmatocystin is a penultimate precursor of aflatoxins and also a toxic and carcinogenic substance produced by many species, including Aspergillus nidulans. Recently, the majority of the enzyme reactions involved in aflatoxin/sterigmatocystin biosynthesis have been clarified, and the genes encoding the enzymes have been isolated. Most of the genes constitute a large gene cluster in the fungal genome, and their expression is mostly regulated by a product of the regulatory gene aflR. This review will summarize the enzymatic steps and the genes in aflatoxin/sterigmatocystin biosynthesis.