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Functional Characterization of the alb1 Orthologue Gene in the Ochratoxigenic Fungus Aspergillus carbonarius (AC49 strain)

AuthorsGerin, Donato; González-Candelas, Luis ; Ballester Frutos, Ana Rosa ; Pollastro, Stefania; de Miccolis Angelini, Rita Milvia; Faretra, Francesco
OTA partitioning
Gene disruption
Issue Date12-Mar-2018
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
CitationToxins 10(3): 12 (2018)
AbstractAspergillus carbonarius, belonging to the group Nigri, is the main species responsible for contamination by ochratoxin A (OTA) in grapes and derivative products. OTA can accumulate in the mycelium and in black conidia of the fungus and released into the matrix. Here, we have deleted in A. carbonarius the alb1 orthologue gene of A. fumigatus, involved in melanin biosynthesis. Three A. carbonarius Δalb1 mutants were characterized for morphologic traits and OTA production on different media and temperatures. Δalb1 mutants showed a fawn color of conidia associated with a significant reduction of the conidiogenesis and a statistically significant increase (p ≤ 0.01) of total OTA production as compared to the wild type (WT) strain. The alb1 gene somehow affected OTA partitioning since in Δalb1 mutants OTA amount was lower in conidia and was more abundantly secreted into the medium as compared to the WT. On grape berries the Δalb1 mutants and the WT caused lesions with similar sizes but OTA amount in berry tissues was higher for the mutants. These results demonstrate that A. carbonarius conidia pigmentation is largely dependent on polyketide biosynthesis. The gene is not directly involved in virulence and its deletion affects morphological features and OTA production in the fungus.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10030120
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