Submitted to: Multicrop Aflatoxin and Fumonisin Elimination and Fungal Genomics Workshop-The Peanut Foundation
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2003
Publication Date: 10/30/2003
Citation: Yu, J., Chang, P.-K., Ehrlich, K., Cary, J.W., Bhatnagar, D., Cleveland, T.E. 2003. Characterization of the complete aflatoxin pathway gene cluster in Aspergillus parasiticus. Proceedings of USDA-ARS Aflatoxin/Fumonisin Elimination and Fungal Genomics Workshop, October 13-15, 2003, Savannah, Georgia. Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins are toxic and carcinogenic compounds produced mainly by the filamentous fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. These toxic secondary metabolites contaminate food and feed commodities when they infect corn, cotton, peanut, and tree nuts. Understanding of the genetic and biochemical mechanisms of aflatoxin formation will provide valuable information for 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. In an effort to study the mechanism of aflatoxin formation, we identified and sequenced a cluster of genes responsible for aflatoxin formation consisting of a total of 25 genes or ORFs within the 70 kb DNA region in A. parasiticus. We have renamed these genes systematically according to the conventional gene nomenclature of Aspergillus. The function of these pathway genes and their expressional regulation are summarized.