Author(s): Georgianna DR, Payne GA
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Abstract Aflatoxins are notorious toxic secondary metabolites known for their impacts on human and animal health, and their effects on the marketability of key grain and nut crops. Understanding aflatoxin biosynthesis is the focus of a large and diverse research community. Concerted efforts by this community have led not only to a well-characterized biosynthetic pathway, but also to the discovery of novel regulatory mechanisms. Common to secondary metabolism is the clustering of biosynthetic genes and their regulation by pathway specific as well as global regulators. Recent data show that arrangement of secondary metabolite genes in clusters may allow for an important global regulation of secondary metabolism based on physical location along the chromosome. Available genomic and proteomic tools are now allowing us to examine aflatoxin biosynthesis more broadly and to put its regulation in context with fungal development and fungal ecology. This review covers our current understanding of the biosynthesis and regulation of aflatoxin and highlights new and emerging information garnered from structural and functional genomics. The focus of this review will be on studies in Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, the two agronomically important species that produce aflatoxin. Also covered will be the important contributions gained by studies on production of the aflatoxin precursor sterigmatocystin in Aspergillus nidulans.
This article was published in Fungal Genet Biol
and referenced in Fungal Genomics & Biology