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Gene. 1993 May 15;127(1):87-94.

Cloning, characterization and overexpression of the phytase-encoding gene (phyA) of Aspergillus niger.

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  • 1TNO Medical Biological Laboratory, Rijswijk, The Netherlands.


Phytase catalyzes the hydrolysis of phytate (myo-inositol hexakisphosphate) to myo-inositol and inorganic phosphate. A gene (phyA) of Aspergillus niger NRRL3135 coding for extracellular, glycosylated phytase was isolated using degenerate oligodeoxyribonucleotides deduced from phytase amino acid (aa) sequences. Nucleotide (nt) sequence analysis of the cloned region revealed the presence of an open reading frame coding for 467 aa and interrupted once by an intron of 102 bp in the 5' part of the gene. The start codon is followed by a sequence coding for a putative signal peptide. Expression of phyA is controlled at the level of mRNA accumulation in response to inorganic phosphate levels. After cell growth in low-phosphate medium, a transcript of about 1.8 kb was visualized. Transcription of phyA initiates at at least seven start points within a region located 45-25 nt upstream from the start codon. In transformants of A. niger, expression of multiple copies of phyA resulted in up to more than tenfold higher phytase levels than in the wild-type strain.

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