Ustiloxin B, originally isolated from the fungus Ustilaginoidea virens, is a known inhibitor of microtubule assembly. Ustiloxin B is also produced by Aspergillus flavus and is synthesized through the ribosomal peptide synthesis pathway. In A. flavus, the gene cluster associated with ustiloxin B production contains 15 genes including those encoding a fungal C6-type transcription factor and ustiloxin B precursor. Although the koji mold Aspergillus oryzae, which is genetically close to A. flavus, has the corresponding gene cluster, it does not produce ustiloxin B, which may be explained by the fact that the gene encoding the transcription factor UstR is not expressed. Here, to investigate whether ustiloxin B can be produced by expressing ustR in A. oryzae, we constructed ustR expression (ustREX) strains and analyzed ustiloxin B production. In the ustREX strains, all genes in the cluster were up-regulated, in line with expression of ustR, and ustiloxin B produced. To elucidate whether the KexB protease is involved in the processing of the ustiloxin B precursor protein UstA, which has repeats of basic amino acid doublets resembling KexB target sites, we also constructed a ustREX strain with the ∆kexB genotype. Although ustR was expressed in this strain, ustiloxin B was barely detectable. This finding strongly suggests that KexB is required for ustiloxin B production.
- Aspergillus oryzae
- Fungal C6-type transcription factor
- RiPS pathway
- Secondary metabolite
- Ustiloxin B
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology