Aflatoxin biosynthesis cluster gene cypA is required for G aflatoxin formation.
ABSTRACT: Aspergillus flavus isolates produce only aflatoxins B1 and B2, while Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus nomius produce aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, and G2. Sequence comparison of the aflatoxin biosynthesis pathway gene cluster upstream from the polyketide synthase gene, pksA, revealed that A. flavus isolates are missing portions of genes (cypA and norB) predicted to encode, respectively, a cytochrome P450 monooxygenase and an aryl alcohol dehydrogenase. Insertional disruption of cypA in A. parasiticus yielded transformants that lack the ability to produce G aflatoxins but not B aflatoxins. The enzyme encoded by cypA has highest amino acid identity to Gibberella zeae Tri4 (38%), a P450 monooxygenase previously shown to be involved in trichodiene epoxidation. The substrate for CypA may be an intermediate formed by oxidative cleavage of the A ring of O-methylsterigmatocystin by OrdA, the P450 monooxygenase required for formation of aflatoxins B1 and B2.
Project description:The conversion of O-methylsterigmatocystin (OMST) and dihydro-O-methylsterigmatocystin to aflatoxins B1, G1, B2, and G2 requires a cytochrome P-450 type of oxidoreductase activity. ordA, a gene adjacent to the omtA gene, was identified in the aflatoxin-biosynthetic pathway gene cluster by chromosomal walking in Aspergillus parasiticus. The ordA gene was a homolog of the Aspergillus flavus ord1 gene, which is involved in the conversion of OMST to aflatoxin B1. Complementation of A. parasiticus SRRC 2043, an OMST-accumulating strain, with the ordA gene restored the ability to produce aflatoxins B1, G1, B2, and G2. The ordA gene placed under the control of the GAL1 promoter converted exogenously supplied OMST to aflatoxin B1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In contrast, the ordA gene homolog in A. parasiticus SRRC 2043, ordA1, was not able to carry out the same conversion in the yeast system. Sequence analysis revealed that the ordA1 gene had three point mutations which resulted in three amino acid changes (His-400-->Leu-400, Ala-143-->Ser-143, and Ile-528-->Tyr-528). Site-directed mutagenesis studies showed that the change of His-400 to Leu-400 resulted in a loss of the monooxygenase activity and that Ala-143 played a significant role in the catalytic conversion. In contrast, Ile-528 was not associated with the enzymatic activity. The involvement of the ordA gene in the synthesis of aflatoxins G1, and G2 in A. parasiticus suggests that enzymes required for the formation of aflatoxins G1 and G2 are not present in A. flavus. The results showed that in addition to the conserved heme-binding and redox reaction domains encoded by ordA, other seemingly domain-unrelated amino acid residues are critical for cytochrome P-450 catalytic activity. The ordA gene has been assigned to a new cytochrome P-450 gene family named CYP64 by The Cytochrome P450 Nomenclature Committee.
Project description:The filamentous fungi Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus produce the carcinogenic secondary metabolite aflatoxin on susceptible crops. These species differ in the quantity of aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, and G2 produced in culture, in the ability to produce the mycotoxin cyclopiazonic acid, and in morphology of mycelia and conidiospores. To understand the genetic basis for differences in biochemistry and morphology, we conducted next-generation sequence (NGS) analysis of the A. parasiticus strain SU-1 genome and comparative gene expression (RNA sequence analysis [RNA Seq]) analysis of A. parasiticus SU-1 and A. flavus strain NRRL 3357 (3357) grown under aflatoxin-inducing and -noninducing culture conditions. Although A. parasiticus SU-1 and A. flavus 3357 are highly similar in genome structure and gene organization, we observed differences in the presence of specific mycotoxin gene clusters and differential expression of specific mycotoxin genes and gene clusters that help explain differences in the type and quantity of mycotoxins synthesized. Using computer-aided analysis of secondary metabolite clusters (antiSMASH), we demonstrated that A. parasiticus SU-1 and A. flavus 3357 may carry up to 93 secondary metabolite gene clusters, and surprisingly, up to 10% of the genome appears to be dedicated to secondary metabolite synthesis. The data also suggest that fungus-specific zinc binuclear cluster (C6) transcription factors play an important role in regulation of secondary metabolite cluster expression. Finally, we identified uniquely expressed genes in A. parasiticus SU-1 that encode C6 transcription factors and genes involved in secondary metabolism and stress response/cellular defense. Future work will focus on these differentially expressed A. parasiticus SU-1 loci to reveal their role in determining distinct species characteristics.
Project description:Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus are saprophytic fungi which can infect and contaminate preharvest and postharvest food/feed with production of aflatoxins (B1, B2, and G). They are also an opportunistic pathogen causing aspergillosis diseases of animals and humans. In this study, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from Streptomyces yanglinensis 3-10 were found to be able to inhibit mycelial growth, sporulation, conidial germination, and expression of aflatoxin biosynthesis genes in A. flavus and A. parasiticus in vitro. On peanut kernels, the VOCs can also reduce the disease severity and inhibit the aflatoxins production by A. flavus and A. parasiticus under the storage conditions. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) observation showed that high dosage of the VOCs can inhibit conidial germination and colonization by the two species of Aspergillus on peanut kernels. The VOCs also showed suppression of mycelial growth on 18 other plant pathogenic fungi and one Oomycetes organism. By using SPME-GC-MS, 19 major VOCs were detected, like in other Streptomyces, 2-MIB was found as the main volatile component among the detected VOCs. Three standard chemicals, including methyl 2-methylbutyrate (M2M), 2-phenylethanol (2-PE), and ?-caryophyllene (?-CA), showed antifungal activity against A. flavus and A. parasiticus. Among them, M2M showed highest inhibitory effect than other two standard compounds against conidial germination of A. flavus and A. parasiticus. To date, this is the first record about the antifungal activity of M2M against A. flavus and A. parasiticus. The VOCs from S. yanglinensis 3-10 did not affect growth of peanut seedlings. In conclusion, our results indicate that S. yanglinensis 3-10 may has a potential to become a promising biofumigant in for control of A. flavus and A. parasiticus.
Project description:Aflatoxins, the most toxic and carcinogenic family of fungal secondary metabolites, are frequent contaminants of foods intended for human consumption. Previous studies showed that formation of G-group aflatoxins (AFs) from O-methylsterigmatocystin (OMST) by certain Aspergillus species involves oxidation by the cytochrome P450 monooxygenases, OrdA (AflQ) and CypA (AflU). However, some of the steps in the conversion have not yet been fully defined. Extracts of Aspergillus parasiticus disruption mutants of the OYE-FMN binding domain reductase-encoding gene nadA (aflY) contained a 386 Da AFG(1) precursor. A compound with this mass was predicted as the product of sequential OrdA and CypA oxidation of OMST. Increased amounts of a 362 Da alcohol, the presumptive product of NadA reduction, accumulate in extracts of fungi with disrupted aryl alcohol dehydrogenase-encoding gene norB. These results show that biosynthesis of AFG(1) involves NadA reduction and NorB oxidation.
Project description:Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus produce carcinogenic aflatoxins during crop infection, with extensive variations in production among isolates, ranging from atoxigenic to highly toxigenic. Here, we report draft genome sequences of one A. parasiticus isolate and nine A. flavus isolates from field environments for use in comparative, functional, and phylogenetic studies.
Project description:Aflatoxins are potent toxic and carcinogenic compounds, produced by Aspergillus parasiticus and A. flavus as secondary metabolites. In this research, a polyketide synthase gene (pksL1), the key gene for aflatoxin biosynthesis initiation in A. parasiticus, has been functionally identified and molecularly characterized. PCR-derived DNA probes were used to find the pksL1 gene from subtracted, aflatoxin-related clones. Gene knockout experiments generated four pksL1 disruptants which lost both the ability to produce aflatoxins B1, B2, and G1 and the ability to accumulate norsolorinic acid and all other intermediates of the aflatoxin biosynthetic pathway. A pksL1 DNA probe detected a 6.6-kb poly(A)+ RNA transcript in Northern (RNA) hybridizations. This transcript, associated with aflatoxin production, exhibited a regulated expression that was influenced by growth phase, medium composition, and culture temperature. DNA sequencing of pksL1 revealed an open reading frame for a polypeptide (PKSL1) of 2,109 amino acids. Sequence analysis further recognized four functional domains in PKSL1, acyl carrier protein, beta-ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein synthase, acyltransferase, and thioesterase, all of which are usually present in polyketide synthases and fatty acid synthases. On the basis of these results, we propose that pksL1 encodes the polyketide synthase which synthesizes the backbone polyketide and initiates aflatoxin biosynthesis. In addition, the transcript of pksL1 exhibited heterogeneity at the polyadenylation site similar to that of plant genes.
Project description:Biosynthesis of the highly toxic and carcinogenic aflatoxins in select Aspergillus species from the common intermediate O-methylsterigmatocystin has been postulated to require only the cytochrome P450 monooxygenase, OrdA (AflQ). We now provide evidence that the aryl alcohol dehydrogenase NorA (AflE) encoded by the aflatoxin biosynthetic gene cluster in Aspergillus flavus affects the accumulation of aflatoxins in the final steps of aflatoxin biosynthesis. Mutants with inactive norA produced reduced quantities of aflatoxin B(1) (AFB(1)), but elevated quantities of a new metabolite, deoxyAFB(1). To explain this result, we suggest that, in the absence of NorA, the AFB(1) reduction product, aflatoxicol, is produced and is readily dehydrated to deoxyAFB(1) in the acidic medium, enabling us to observe this otherwise minor toxin produced in wild-type A. flavus.
Project description:Aflatoxins and ochratoxins are among the most important mycotoxins of all and producers of both types of mycotoxins are present in Aspergillus section Flavi, albeit never in the same species. Some of the most efficient producers of aflatoxins and ochratoxins have not been described yet. Using a polyphasic approach combining phenotype, physiology, sequence and extrolite data, we describe here eight new species in section Flavi. Phylogenetically, section Flavi is split in eight clades and the section currently contains 33 species. Two species only produce aflatoxin B1 and B2 (A. pseudotamarii and A. togoensis), and 14 species are able to produce aflatoxin B1, B2, G1 and G2: three newly described species A. aflatoxiformans, A. austwickii and A. cerealis in addition to A. arachidicola, A. minisclerotigenes, A. mottae, A. luteovirescens (formerly A. bombycis), A. nomius, A. novoparasiticus, A. parasiticus, A. pseudocaelatus, A. pseudonomius, A. sergii and A. transmontanensis. It is generally accepted that A. flavus is unable to produce type G aflatoxins, but here we report on Korean strains that also produce aflatoxin G1 and G2. One strain of A. bertholletius can produce the immediate aflatoxin precursor 3-O-methylsterigmatocystin, and one strain of Aspergillus sojae and two strains of Aspergillus alliaceus produced versicolorins. Strains of the domesticated forms of A. flavus and A. parasiticus, A. oryzae and A. sojae, respectively, lost their ability to produce aflatoxins, and from the remaining phylogenetically closely related species (belonging to the A. flavus-, A. tamarii-, A. bertholletius- and A. nomius-clades), only A. caelatus, A. subflavus and A. tamarii are unable to produce aflatoxins. With exception of A. togoensis in the A. coremiiformis-clade, all species in the phylogenetically more distant clades (A. alliaceus-, A. coremiiformis-, A. leporis- and A. avenaceus-clade) are unable to produce aflatoxins. Three out of the four species in the A. alliaceus-clade can produce the mycotoxin ochratoxin A: A. alliaceus s. str. and two new species described here as A. neoalliaceus and A. vandermerwei. Eight species produced the mycotoxin tenuazonic acid: A. bertholletius, A. caelatus, A. luteovirescens, A. nomius, A. pseudocaelatus, A. pseudonomius, A. pseudotamarii and A. tamarii while the related mycotoxin cyclopiazonic acid was produced by 13 species: A. aflatoxiformans, A. austwickii, A. bertholletius, A. cerealis, A. flavus, A. minisclerotigenes, A. mottae, A. oryzae, A. pipericola, A. pseudocaelatus, A. pseudotamarii, A. sergii and A. tamarii. Furthermore, A. hancockii produced speradine A, a compound related to cyclopiazonic acid. Selected A. aflatoxiformans, A. austwickii, A. cerealis, A. flavus, A. minisclerotigenes, A. pipericola and A. sergii strains produced small sclerotia containing the mycotoxin aflatrem. Kojic acid has been found in all species in section Flavi, except A. avenaceus and A. coremiiformis. Only six species in the section did not produce any known mycotoxins: A. aspearensis, A. coremiiformis, A. lanosus, A. leporis, A. sojae and A. subflavus. An overview of other small molecule extrolites produced in Aspergillus section Flavi is given.
Project description:Aflatoxins, produced mainly by filamentous fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, are one of the most carcinogenic compounds that have adverse health effects on both humans and animals consuming contaminated food and feed, respectively. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) and aflatoxin B2 (AFB2) as well as aflatoxin G1(AFG1) and aflatoxin G2 (AFG2) occur in the contaminated foods and feed. In the case of dairy ruminants, after the consumption of feed contaminated with aflatoxins, aflatoxin metabolites [aflatoxin M1 (AFM1) and aflatoxin M2 (AFM2)] may appear in milk. Because of the health risk and the official maximum limits of aflatoxins, there is a need for application of fast and accurate testing methods. At present, there are several analytical methods applied in practice for determination of aflatoxins. The aim of this review is to provide a guide that summarizes worldwide aflatoxin regulations and analytical methods for determination of aflatoxins in different food and feed matrices, that helps in the decision to choose the most appropriate method that meets the practical requirements of fast and sensitive control of their contamination. Analytical options are outlined from the simplest and fastest methods with the smallest instrument requirements, through separation methods, to the latest hyphenated techniques.
Project description:The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that 25% of the food crops in the world are contaminated with aflatoxins. That represents 100 million tons of food being destroyed or diverted to non-human consumption each year. Aflatoxins are powerful carcinogens normally accumulated by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus in cereals, nuts, root crops and other agricultural products. Silencing of five aflatoxin-synthesis genes by RNA interference (RNAi) in peanut plants was used to control aflatoxin accumulation following inoculation with A. flavus. Previously, no method existed to analyze the effectiveness of RNAi in individual peanut transgenic events, as these usually produce few seeds, and traditional methods of large field experiments under aflatoxin-conducive conditions were not an option. In the field, the probability of finding naturally contaminated seeds is often 1/100 to 1/1,000. In addition, aflatoxin contamination is not uniformly distributed. Our method uses few seeds per transgenic event, with small pieces processed for real-time PCR (RT-PCR) or small RNA sequencing, and for analysis of aflatoxin accumulation by ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC). RNAi-expressing peanut lines 288-72 and 288-74, showed up to 100% reduction (p ? 0.01) in aflatoxin B1 and B2 compared to the control that accumulated up to 14,000 ng · g(-1) of aflatoxin B1 when inoculated with aflatoxigenic A. flavus. As reference, the maximum total of aflatoxins allowable for human consumption in the United States is 20 ng · g(-1). This protocol describes the application of RNAi-mediated control of aflatoxins in transgenic peanut seeds and methods for its evaluation. We believe that its application in breeding of peanut and other crops will bring rapid advancement in this important area of science, medicine and human nutrition, and will significantly contribute to the international effort to control aflatoxins, and potentially other mycotoxins in major food crops.