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Nat Biotechnol. 1999 Jun;17(6):598-601.

Transformation of Aspergillus awamori by Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated homologous recombination.

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Unilever Research Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.


Agrobacterium tumefaciens is known to transfer part of its tumor-inducing (Ti) plasmid to the filamentous fungus Aspergillus awamori by illegitimate recombination with the fungal genome. Here, we show that when this Ti DNA shares homology with the A. awamori genome, integration can also occur by homologous recombination. On the basis of this finding, we have developed an efficient method for constructing recombinant mold strains free from bacterial DNA by A. tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Multiple copies of a gene can be integrated rapidly at a predetermined locus in the genome, yielding transformants free of bacterial antibiotic resistance genes or other foreign DNA. Recombinant A. awamori strains were constructed containing up to nine copies of a Fusarium solani pisi cutinase expression cassette integrated in tandem at the pyrG locus. This allowed us to study how mRNA and protein levels are affected by gene copy number, without the influence of chromosomal environmental effects. Cutinase mRNA and protein were maximal with four gene copies, indicating a limitation at the transcriptional level. This transformation system will potentially stimulate market acceptance of derived products by avoiding introduction of bacterial and other foreign DNA into the fungi.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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