, Volume 147, Issue 2, pp 105-112

Repressor-AFLR interaction modulates aflatoxin biosynthesis in Aspergillus parasiticus

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Abstract

Regulation of aflatoxin (AF) biosynthesis likely involves a complex interplay of positive- and negative-acting factors that are affected by physiological cues responsive to internal and external stimuli. These factors, presumably, modulate the expression of the AF pathway-specific regulatory gene, aflR, whose product, AFLR, a zinc cluster transcription factor, then turns on or off the transcription of other AF genes. To determine if the AFLR carboxyl region (AFLRC) interacts with positive-or negative-acting proteins, we fused the Aspergillus parasiticus aflR carboxyl coding region(aflRC) to the promoter of A. parasiticusnitrite reductase gene (niiA(p)::aflRC), and transformed it into A. parasiticus SRRC 2043. Transformants that contained two copies of niiA(p)::aflRC, one at the niaD locus and another at the aflR locus, over produced AF precursors independent of the nitrogen source. The higher copy number of the integrated niiA(p)::aflRC correlated with increased production of AF precursors by the transformants as well as increased expression of both aflRC and native aflR in potato dextrose broth and A & M medium. Since aflRC does not encode a DNA-binding domain, the expressed AFLRC should not bind to the promoters of AF pathway genes and affect transcription directly. The results are consistent with AFLRC titrating out a putative repressor that interacts with AFLR under different growth conditions and modulates AF biosynthesis. This interaction also indirectly affects sclerotial development.

This revised version was published online in June 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.