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Title: Identification of a classical mutant in the industrial host Aspergillus niger by systems genetics: LaeA is required for citric acid production and regulates the formation of some secondary metabolites

Rapid acidification of the culture medium by the production of organic acids and the production of acid-induced proteases are key characteristics of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger. The D15 mutant of A. niger is non-acidifying mutant and used often for the expression of recombinant proteins in A. niger, because of its reduced production of extracellular proteases under non-acidic conditions. In this study, the D15 mutant is characterized in detail. Strongly reduced levels of citric and oxalic acid were observed in the D15 mutant both in shake flask cultures and in controlled batch cultivations. To identify the mutation in the D15 mutant, we successfully combined high-throughput sequencing (Illumina) with bulk segregant analysis. Because of the lack of a sexual cycle for A. niger, the parasexual cycle was used to generate a pool of segregants. From the 52 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) between the parental strains, three SNPs were homozygous in the genomic DNA of pool of segregants. These three SNPs mapped to all the right arm of chromosome II, indicating that this region contains the genetic locus affecting the phenotype related to acid production. Of the three SNPs, one mutation resulted in a missense mutation in the gene encoding the A.more » niger homologue of the A. nidulans methyltransferase gene laeA. Complementation analysis of the original mutant with the laeA gene and targeted disruption of laeA further confirmed that LaeA is involved in citric acid production in A. niger lab (N402) and citric acid production strains (ATCC 11414). Analysis of the secondary metabolite (SM) profile of the laeA mutants indicate that LaeA is required for the production of several SMs (asperrubrol, atromentin and JBIR86), but deletion of laeA also resulted in the presence of SMs (aspernigrin A/B and BMS-192548) that were not detected in the wild-type strain. The levels of ten other SMs were not strongly affected as a result of laeA deletion indicating that only a limited number of SM gene clusters are controlled by LaeA activity.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2160-1836
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: G3; Journal Volume: 6; Journal Issue: 1
Genetics Society of America
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
laeA, Methyltransferase; organic acids; protease; gene regulation; Aspergillus niger