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J Bacteriol. 1994 Feb;176(4):985-91.

Exogenous methionine increases levels of mRNAs transcribed from pcbAB, pcbC, and cefEF genes, encoding enzymes of the cephalosporin biosynthetic pathway, in Acremonium chrysogenum.

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  • 1Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Microbiología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de León, Spain.


Methionine stimulated cephalosporin production in cultures of three different strains of Acremonium chrysogenum when added either at inoculation time or at 72 h to cells grown previously in the absence of methionine. When methionine was added at 72 h, the stimulation of cephalosporin biosynthesis was observed only 12 h later and required de novo protein synthesis. Methionine increased the levels of enzymes (isopenicillin N synthase and deacetylcephalosporin C acetyltransferase) expressed from genes (pcbC and cefG, respectively) located in the two clusters of cephalosporin biosynthesis genes in the wild-type A. chrysogenum strain and also in the two improved strains, CW19 and C10. Methionine-supplemented cells showed higher levels of transcripts of the four known genes (pcbAB, pcbC, cefEF and, to a slight extent, cefG) of the cephalosporin biosynthetic pathway than cells grown in the absence of methionine. The levels of the cefG transcript were much lower than those of the pcbAB, pcbC, and cefEF transcripts. The induction by methionine of transcription of the four cephalosporin biosynthesis genes and the known effect of this amino acid on the differentiation of A. chrysogenum indicate that methionine exerts a pleiotropic effect that coordinately regulates cephalosporin biosynthesis and differentiation.

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