Ochratoxin A (OTA), a potentially carcinogenic mycotoxin which contaminates grains, is produced by several Aspergillus species. A comparative sequence analysis of the OTA-producing Aspergillus ochraceus fc-1 strain and other Aspergillus species was performed. Two new OTA-related polyketide synthase (PKS) (AoOTApks) genes were identified. The predicted amino acid sequence of AoOTApks-1 displayed high similarity to previously identified PKSs from OTA-producing A. carbonarius ITEM 5010 (67%; [PI] No. 173482) and A. niger CBS 513.88 (62%; XP_001397313). However, the predicted amino acid sequence of AoOTApks-2 displayed lower homology with A. niger CBS 513.88 (38%) and A. carbonarius ITEM 5010 (28%). A phylogenetic analysis of the β-ketosynthase and acyl-transferase domains of the AoOTApks proteins indicated that they shared a common origin with other OTA-producing species, such as A. carbonarius, A. niger, and A. westerdijkiae. A real-time reverse-transcription PCR analysis showed that the expression of AoOTApks-1 and -2 was positively correlated with the OTA concentration. The pks gene deleted mutants ΔAoOTApks-1 and ΔAoOTApks-2 produced nil and lesser OTA than the wild-type strain, respectively. Our study suggests that AoOTApks-1 could be involved in OTA biosynthesis, while AoOTApks-2 might be indirectly involved in OTA production.
Wang, L., Wang, Y., Wang, Q., Liu, F., Selvaraj, J. N., Liu, L., … Liu, Y. (2015). Functional characterization of new polyketide synthase genes involved in ochratoxin A biosynthesis in Aspergillus ochraceus fc-1. Toxins, 7(8), 2723–2738. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins7082723