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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Jun 20;92(13):6200-4.

The penicillin gene cluster is amplified in tandem repeats linked by conserved hexanucleotide sequences.

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  • 1Section of Microbiology, University of León, Faculty of Biology, Spain.


The penicillin biosynthetic genes (pcbAB, pcbC, penDE) of Penicillium chrysogenum AS-P-78 were located in a 106.5-kb DNA region that is amplified in tandem repeats (five or six copies) linked by conserved TTTACA sequences. The wild-type strains P. chrysogenum NRRL 1951 and Penicillium notatum ATCC 9478 (Fleming's isolate) contain a single copy of the 106.5-kb region. This region was bordered by the same TTTACA hexanucleotide found between tandem repeats in strain AS-P-78. A penicillin overproducer strain, P. chrysogenum E1, contains a large number of copies in tandem of a 57.9-kb DNA fragment, linked by the same hexanucleotide or its reverse complementary TGTAAA sequence. The deletion mutant P. chrysogenum npe10 showed a deletion of 57.9 kb that corresponds exactly to the DNA fragment that is amplified in E1. The conserved hexanucleotide sequence was reconstituted at the deletion site. The amplification has occurred within a single chromosome (chromosome I). The tandem reiteration and deletion appear to arise by mutation-induced site-specific recombination at the conserved hexanucleotide sequences.

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