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Comparative mapping of aflatoxin pathway gene clusters in Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus.

By J Yu, P K Chang, J W Cary, M Wright, D Bhatnagar, T E Cleveland, G A Payne and J E Linz


Aflatoxins are toxic and carcinogenic secondary metabolites produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. Aflatoxins are synthesized by condensation of acetate units; their synthesis is estimated to involve at least 16 different enzymes. In this study we have shown that at least nine genes involved in the aflatoxin biosynthetic pathway are located within a 60-kb DNA fragment. Four of these genes, nor-1, aflR, ver-1, and omtA (previously named omt-1), have been cloned in A. flavus and A. parasiticus. In addition, five other genes, pksA, uvm8, aad, ord-1, and ord-2 have been recently cloned in A. parasiticus. The pksA, aad, and uvm8 genes exhibit sequence homologies to polyketide synthase, aryl-alcohol dehydrogenase, and fatty acid synthase genes, respectively. The cDNA sequences of ord-1 and ord-2 genes, which may be involved in later steps of aflatoxin biosynthesis, have been determined; the ord-1 gene product exhibits homology to cytochrome P-450-type enzymes. By characterizing the overlapping regions of the DNA inserts in different cosmid and lambda DNA clones, we have determined the order of these aflatoxin pathway genes within this 60-kb DNA region to be pksA, nor-1, uvm8, aflR, aad, ver-1, ord-1, ord-2, and omtA in A. parasiticus and nor-1, aflR, ver-1, ord-1, ord-2, and omtA in A. flavus. The order is related to the order in enzymatic steps required for aflatoxin biosynthesis. The physical distances (in kilobase pairs) and the directions of transcription of these genes have been determined for both aflatoxigenic species

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1995
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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