Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology

, Volume 46, Issue 12, pp 1769–1780 | Cite as

Identification and characterization of the ZRT, IRT-like protein (ZIP) family genes reveal their involvement in growth and kojic acid production in Aspergillus oryzae

  • Zhe Zhang
  • Junxia Fan
  • Chuannan Long
  • Bin He
  • Zhihong Hu
  • Chunmiao Jiang
  • Yongkai Li
  • Long Ma
  • Jingshang Wen
  • Xiaojin Zou
  • Yuan Chen
  • Zhenxiang Ge
  • Bin ZengEmail author
Genetics and Molecular Biology of Industrial Organisms - Original Paper


The ZRT, IRT-like protein (ZIP) family exists in many species and plays an important role in many biological processes, but little is known about ZIP genes in Aspergillus oryzae. Here, 10 ZIP genes in A. oryzae were identified and these were classified into four groups based on phylogenetic analysis. The structures of these AoZip genes were determined, which indicated a great divergence of AoZip members from different groups. Synteny analysis revealed that AoZip7, AoZip8, and AoZip10 are conserved among Aspergillus species. We also found that the promoter regions of AoZip2, AoZip7, AoZip8, and AoZip10 contain multiple conserved response elements. Expression analysis revealed that AoZips exhibited different expression patterns in response to different metal treatments. Moreover, overexpression and RNA-interference (RNAi) of AoZip2 led to a decrease in mycelium growth diameter and inhibited conidia formation. AoZip2 overexpression and RNAi strains showed distinct sensitivity to severely Zn/Mn-depleted stress. In addition, kojic acid production was markedly lower in AoZip2 overexpression and RNAi strains than in the control strains, and the expression of kojA, kojR, and kojT was down-regulated in AoZip2 overexpression and RNAi strains. This study provides new insights into our understanding of ZIP genes and lays a foundation for further investigation of their roles in Aspergillus oryzae.


Aspergillus oryzae ZIP transporter Kojic acid Secondary metabolism 



This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (31460447 and 31171731) and Doctoral Scientific Research Foundation of Jiangxi Science and Technology Normal University (3000990632).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

10295_2019_2236_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.6 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 1597 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhe Zhang
    • 1
  • Junxia Fan
    • 1
  • Chuannan Long
    • 1
  • Bin He
    • 1
  • Zhihong Hu
    • 1
  • Chunmiao Jiang
    • 1
  • Yongkai Li
    • 1
  • Long Ma
    • 1
  • Jingshang Wen
    • 1
  • Xiaojin Zou
    • 1
  • Yuan Chen
    • 1
  • Zhenxiang Ge
    • 1
  • Bin Zeng
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Jiangxi Key Laboratory of Bioprocess Engineering and Co-Innovation Center for In-Vitro Diagnostic Reagents and Devices of Jiangxi Province, College of Life SciencesJiangxi Science and Technology Normal UniversityNanchangChina

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