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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Research Project #438371

Research Project: Probing Chromosome Structure to Activate Silent Metabolite Gene Clusters

Location: Food and Feed Safety Research

Project Number: 6054-41420-009-04-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2020
End Date: Aug 31, 2023

Objective:
Aspergillus flavus, a fungus that infects crops and produces aflatoxins, contains many uncharacterized biosynthetic gene clusters. The secondary metabolites produced by these gene clusters are currently unknown, but could play a role in crop infection. ARS PI will work with cooperator to investigate the role that chromatin structure plays on the expression of secondary metabolites in the Aspergillus flavus with the goal of identifying new fungal metabolites that affect fungal fitness, pathogenicity, virulence, and toxicity.

Approach:
ARS scientists will work with cooperator to investigate silent or repressed secondary metabolite gene clusters in Aspergillus flavus using unique approaches that focus on altering the structure of chromosomes that could positively affect gene expression. Specifically, we plan to activate gene clusters by inhibiting histone modifying enzymes, determine the influence of telomere position effect (TPE) on secondary metabolite production, and assess the effect of proteins that influence telomere chromatin structure and telomere length homeostasis on secondary metabolite biosynthesis.