Submitted to: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: November 8, 2002
Publication Date: February 1, 2003
Citation: Bhatnagar, D., Ehrlich, K., Cleveland, T.E. 2003. Molecular genetic analysis and regulation of aflatoxin biosynthesis. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 61:83-93. Technical Abstract: Aflatoxins, produced primarily by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, are toxic and extremely carcinogenic furanocoumarins. Recent investigations of the molecular mechanism of AFB1 biosynthesis showed that the genes required for biosynthesis were in a 70 kb gene cluster. They encoded 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 lead to a better understanding of how and why the toxin is synthesized 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.