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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2006 Jan;72(1):484-90.

Molecular analysis of an inactive aflatoxin biosynthesis gene cluster in Aspergillus oryzae RIB strains.

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National Research Institute of Brewing, 3-7-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-0046, Japan.


To help assess the potential for aflatoxin production by Aspergillus oryzae, the structure of an aflatoxin biosynthesis gene homolog cluster in A. oryzae RIB 40 was analyzed. Although most genes in the corresponding cluster exhibited from 97 to 99% similarity to those of Aspergillus flavus, three genes shared 93% similarity or less. A 257-bp deletion in the aflT region, a frameshift mutation in norA, and a base pair substitution in verA were found in A. oryzae RIB 40. In the aflR promoter, two substitutions were found in one of the three putative AreA binding sites and in the FacB binding site. PCR primers were designed to amplify homologs of aflT, nor-1, aflR, norA, avnA, verB, and vbs and were used to detect these genes in 210 A. oryzae strains. Based on the PCR results, the A. oryzae RIB strains were classified into three groups, although most of them fell into two of the groups. Group 1, in which amplification of all seven genes was confirmed, contained 122 RIB strains (58.1% of examined strains), including RIB 40. Seventy-seven strains (36.7%) belonged to group 2, characterized by having only vbs, verB, and avnA in half of the cluster. Although slight expression of aflR was detected by reverse transcription-PCR in some group 1 strains, including RIB 40, other genes (avnA, vbs, verB, and omtA) related to aflatoxin production were not detected. aflR was not detected in group 2 strains by Southern analysis.

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