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Genetics. 1999 Oct;153(2):715-20.

Aspergillus nidulans mutants defective in stc gene cluster regulation.

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  • 1Department of Plant Pathology, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843-2132, USA.


The genes involved in the biosynthesis of sterigmatocystin (ST), a toxic secondary metabolite produced by Aspergillus nidulans and an aflatoxin (AF) precursor in other Aspergillus spp., are clustered on chromosome IV of A. nidulans. The sterigmatocystin gene cluster (stc gene cluster) is regulated by the pathway-specific transcription factor aflR. The function of aflR appears to be conserved between ST- and AF-producing aspergilli, as are most of the other genes in the cluster. We describe a novel screen for detecting mutants defective in stc gene cluster activity by use of a genetic block early in the ST biosynthetic pathway that results in the accumulation of the first stable intermediate, norsolorinic acid (NOR), an orange-colored compound visible with the unaided eye. We have mutagenized this NOR-accumulating strain and have isolated 176 Nor(-) mutants, 83 of which appear to be wild type in growth and development. Sixty of these 83 mutations are linked to the stc gene cluster and are likely defects in aflR or known stc biosynthetic genes. Of the 23 mutations not linked to the stc gene cluster, 3 prevent accumulation of NOR due to the loss of aflR expression.

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