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Curr Genet. 2003 Dec;44(4):211-5. Epub 2003 Sep 24.

4'-phosphopantetheinyl transferase-encoding npgA is essential for siderophore biosynthesis in Aspergillus nidulans.

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Department of Molecular Biology, University of Innsbruck, Peter-Mayr-Strasse 4b, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Aspergillus nidulans produces two major siderophores: it excretes triacetylfusarinine C to capture iron and contains ferricrocin as an intracellular iron-storage compound. Siderophore biosynthesis involves the enzymatic activity of nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS). NRPS contain 4'-phosphopantetheine as an essential prosthetic group, which is attached by 4'-phosphopantetheinyl transferases. A. nidulans appears to possess at least one gene, npgA, encoding such an enzyme. Using a strain carrying a temperature-sensitive allele, cfwA2, we showed that NpgA is essential for biosynthesis of both the peptide bond-containing ferricrocin and the ester bond-containing triacetylfusarinene C. The cfwA2 strain was found to be iron-starved at the restrictive temperature during iron-replete conditions, consistent with the siderophore system being the major iron-uptake system-as we recently demonstrated. Northern analysis indicated that, in contrast to other genes which are involved in siderophore biosynthesis and uptake, expression of npgA is not controlled by the GATA-transcription factor SreA. It was shown previously that NpgA is required for biosynthesis of penicillin, pigment, and potentially lysine via the alpha-aminoadipate pathway. Supplementation with lysine plus triacetylfusarinine C restored normal growth of the cfwA2 strain at the restrictive temperature, suggesting that the growth defect of the mutant is mainly due to impaired biosynthesis of siderophores and lysine.

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