|Chang, Perng Kuang|
Submitted to: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2003
Publication Date: 3/1/2004
Citation: Yu, J., Chang, P.-K., Ehrlich, K., Cary, J.W., Bhatnagar, D., Cleveland, T.E., Payne, G.A., Linz, J.E., Woloshuk, C.P., Bennett, J.W. 2004. Clustered pathway genes in aflatoxin biosynthesis. Applied And Environmental Microbiology. 70(3):1253-1262. Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins are the most toxic and cancer-inducing compounds produced by certain fungi such as Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. These compounds contaminate our food source such as corn, cotton, peanut, and tree nuts when the fungus infects crops. Understanding of the genetic and biochemical mechanisms of aflatoxin formation will provide valuable information on the control or elimination of aflatoxin contamination of food and feed. This information is necessary for devising strategies to control aflatoxin contamination through genetic engineering of commercial crops.
Technical Abstract: Aflatoxins are secondary metabolites produced by certain species of filamentous fungi in the genus Aspergillus. These toxins contaminate agricultural commodities and pose a potential risk to livestock and human health. Research on the natural occurrence, identification, characterization, biosynthesis, and genetic regulation of aflatoxins, as well as prevention and control of aflatoxin contamination of food and feed, have been studied in great detail. It was demonstrated that 25 identified genes are involved in aflatoxin biosynthesis clustered within a 70 kb DNA region in the chromosome. The aflatoxin pathway genes identified are renamed systematically following the naming convention in Aspergillus. These genes and their enzymes involved in aflatoxin biosynthetic pathway are reviewed.