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Lovastatin biosynthetic genes of Aspergillus terreus are expressed differentially in solid-state and in liquid submerged fermentation

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Molecular studies were performed to establish the causes of the superior lovastatin productivity of a novel solid-state fermentation (SSF) process, in relation with liquid submerged fermentation (SmF; 20 mg/g vs. 0.65 mg/ml). In SSF, biosynthetic genes lovE and lovF transcripts accumulated to high levels from day 1 to day 7. In this period, lovE transcript showed 4.6-fold higher accumulation levels (transcription) than the highest level detected in SmF (day 5). lovF transcript showed two-fold higher expression than the highest point in SmF. In SmF, the expression was only detected clearly on day 5 and, showing a 50% decrease, on day 7. These results show that the higher lovastatin production in SSF is related to a more intense transcription of these biosynthetic genes. A strong expression of gldB gene in lovastatin SSF indicated that Aspergillus terreus senses osmotic stress during the course of SSF, but not in SmF. However, when a liquid medium of identical concentration was used in SmF, lovastatin production decreased in 50%, while lovE and lovF transcripts accumulation was 20 and six-fold lower than in SSF; showing that physiology is different in SSF, and that osmotic stress alone is not responsible for the higher gene expression in SSF.

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Correspondence to J. Barrios-González.

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Barrios-González, J., Baños, J.G., Covarrubias, A.A. et al. Lovastatin biosynthetic genes of Aspergillus terreus are expressed differentially in solid-state and in liquid submerged fermentation. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 79, 179–186 (2008).

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  • Solid-state fermentation
  • Submerged fermentation
  • Lovastatin biosynthesis gene expression