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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #242293

Title: Natural Products as Tools for Chemogenomic Analysis of Mycotoxin Biosynthesis and Fungal Stress-Response Systems

item Campbell, Bruce
item Kim, Jong Heon
item Yu, Jiujiang
item Molyneux, Russell
item Mahoney, Noreen
item Palumbo, Jeffrey - Jeff
item Chan, Kathleen - Kathy
item Bhatnagar, Deepak
item Cleveland, Thomas
item NIERMAN, WILLIAM - George Washington University

Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/21/2007
Publication Date: 10/14/2008
Citation: Campbell, B.C., Kim, J.H., Yu, J., Molyneux, R.J., Mahoney, N.E., Palumbo, J.D., Chan, K.L., Bhatnagar, D., Cleveland, T.E., Nierman, W.C. 2008. Natural Products as Tools for Chemogenomic Analysis of Mycotoxin Biosynthesis and Fungal Stress-Response Systems. p. 1-12. In: Food Contaminants: Mycotoxins and Food Allergens. American Chemical Society Symposium Series 1001. p. 543.

Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxin is a natural compound made by certain fungi that can infect our food supply. However, aflatoxin is extremely carcinogenic. Because of this activity, it is of major concern from a food safety standpoint. Hence, aflatoxin is highly regulated and food with too high of a level of this compound cannot be used for human consumption. ARS scientists, with collaborators, have discovered a way to prevent the fungus from making aflatoxin using safe, natural compounds called antioxidants. Using one of these antioxidants. they have discovered how these compound affect the genetics of the fungus and switch off the genes that make aflatoxin. This finding should have a major impact on how to prevent aflatoxin contamination of our food supply.

Technical Abstract: Certain phenolic compounds with antioxidant properties inhibit aflatoxin biosynthesis in the fungus Aspergillus flavus, without affecting growth. Similarly, some of the same phenolics also inhibit biosynthesis of ochratoxin by A. alliaceous. Exposing A. flavus to oxidative stress, such as hydrogen peroxide, enhances aflatoxin biosynthesis. Bioassays with gene-deletion mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as a model fungus, showed phenolics and reactive oxygen species modulated the antioxidative stress-response system. Caffeic acid was selected as a chemogenomic tool to monitor expression profiling using A. flavus microarrays. These profiles showed that treatment of the fungus with caffeic acid resulted in significant down-regulation of almost all genes in the aflatoxin biosynthetic gene cluster. However, there was little change in expression by laeA and aflR, known regulatory genes of aflatoxin synthesis. Alternatively, a number of peroxiredoxin genes most closely related to alkyl hydroperoxide reductases are dramatically up-regulated by the caffeic acid treatment. These enzymes are believed to reduce amounts of lipoperoxides. The lowering of such peroxides may reduce up-stream signaling from oxidative stress-response pathways that trigger aflatoxin biosynthesis. These results show antioxidative stress response genes are pivotal to modulating expression of the aflatoxin biosynthetic gene cluster.