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Fungal Genet Biol. 2008 May;45(5):671-82. Epub 2007 Oct 17.

A Zn(II)2Cys6 DNA binding protein regulates the sirodesmin PL biosynthetic gene cluster in Leptosphaeria maculans.

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  • 1School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.


A gene, sirZ, encoding a Zn(II)(2)Cys(6) DNA binding protein is present in a cluster of genes responsible for the biosynthesis of the epipolythiodioxopiperazine (ETP) toxin, sirodesmin PL in the ascomycete plant pathogen, Leptosphaeria maculans. RNA-mediated silencing of sirZ gives rise to transformants that produce only residual amounts of sirodesmin PL and display a decrease in the transcription of several sirodesmin PL biosynthetic genes. This indicates that SirZ is a major regulator of this gene cluster. Proteins similar to SirZ are encoded in the gliotoxin biosynthetic gene cluster of Aspergillus fumigatus (gliZ) and in an ETP-like cluster in Penicillium lilacinoechinulatum (PlgliZ). Despite its high level of sequence similarity to gliZ, PlgliZ is unable to complement the gliotoxin-deficiency of a mutant of gliZ in A. fumigatus. Putative binding sites for these regulatory proteins in the promoters of genes in these clusters were predicted using bioinformatic analysis. These sites are similar to those commonly bound by other proteins with Zn(II)(2)Cys(6) DNA binding domains.

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