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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2003 Apr;61(2):83-93. Epub 2003 Jan 28.

Molecular genetic analysis and regulation of aflatoxin biosynthesis.

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Southern Regional Research Center, ARS, USDA, New Orleans, LA 70124, USA.


Aflatoxins, produced by some Aspergillus species, are toxic and extremely carcinogenic furanocoumarins. Recent investigations of the molecular mechanism of AFB biosynthesis showed that the genes required for biosynthesis are in a 70 kb gene cluster. They encode a DNA-binding protein functioning in aflatoxin pathway gene regulation, and other enzymes such as cytochrome p450-type monooxygenases, dehydrogenases, methyltransferases, and polyketide and fatty acid synthases. Information gained from these studies has led to a better understanding of aflatoxin biosynthesis by these fungi. The characterization of genes involved in aflatoxin formation affords the opportunity to examine the mechanism of molecular regulation of the aflatoxin biosynthetic pathway, particularly during the interaction between aflatoxin-producing fungi and plants.

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