The aflR gene product is the main transcriptional regulator of aflatoxin biosynthesis in Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus. Although A. sojae strains do not produce aflatoxins, they do have an aflR homologue. When compared with the aflR of A. parasiticus, the A. sojae gene contains two mutations: an HAHA motif and a premature stop codon. To investigate the functionality of the A. s.ojae aflR gene product, we used a GAL4 one-hybrid system in yeast. The transcription-activating activity of AflR from A. sojae was 15% of that from A. parasiticus. The introduction of an additional aflR from A. sojae into an A. parasiticus strain did not affect aflatoxin productivity. A hybrid aflR comprising the amino-terminal region of A. sojae aflR and the carboxy-terminal region of A. parasiticus aflR suppressed the effect associated with pre-termination of the A. sojae AflR. We conclude that the premature stop codon of the A. sojae aflR is the key to its functionality and leads to prevention of aflatoxin biosynthesis through loss of the transcription of aflatoxin biosynthesis-related genes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas