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Eukaryot Cell. 2007 Apr;6(4):710-20. Epub 2007 Feb 2.

Phosphopantetheinyl transferase CfwA/NpgA is required for Aspergillus nidulans secondary metabolism and asexual development.

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  • 1Instituto de Ciencias Básicas, Universidad Veracruzana, Av. Dos Vistas s/n, Carretera Xalapa-Las Trancas, 91000 Veracruz, Xalapa, México.


Polyketide synthases (PKSs) and/or nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) are central components of secondary metabolism in bacteria, plants, and fungi. In filamentous fungi, diverse PKSs and NRPSs participate in the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites such as pigments, antibiotics, siderophores, and mycotoxins. However, many secondary metabolites as well as the enzymes involved in their production are yet to be discovered. Both PKSs and NRPSs require activation by enzyme members of the 4'-phosphopantetheinyl transferase (PPTase) family. Here, we report the isolation and characterization of Aspergillus nidulans strains carrying conditional (cfwA2) and null (DeltacfwA) mutant alleles of the cfwA gene, encoding an essential PPTase. We identify the polyketides shamixanthone, emericellin, and dehydroaustinol as well as the sterols ergosterol, peroxiergosterol, and cerevisterol in extracts from A. nidulans large-scale cultures. The PPTase CfwA/NpgA was required for the production of these polyketide compounds but dispensable for ergosterol and cerevisterol and for fatty acid biosynthesis. The asexual sporulation defects of cfwA, DeltafluG, and DeltatmpA mutants were not rescued by the cfwA-dependent compounds identified here. However, a cfwA2 mutation enhanced the sporulation defects of both DeltatmpA and DeltafluG single mutants, suggesting that unidentified CfwA-dependent PKSs and/or NRPSs are involved in the production of hitherto-unknown compounds required for sporulation. Our results expand the number of known and predicted secondary metabolites requiring CfwA/NpgA for their biosynthesis and, together with the phylogenetic analysis of fungal PPTases, suggest that a single PPTase is responsible for the activation of all PKSs and NRPSs in A. nidulans.

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