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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Polyketide synthase gene responsible for citrinin biosynthesis in Monascus purpureus.

Citrinin produced by Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Monascus species is a polyketide compound that has nephrotoxic activity in mammals and is bactericidal toward gram-positive bacteria. To avoid the risk of citrinin contamination in other fermentation products produced by Monascus purpureus, knowledge of the citrinin biosynthetic genes is needed so that citrinin-nonproducing strains can be generated. We cloned a polyketide synthase (PKS) gene from M. purpureus with degenerate primers designed to amplify the conserved region of a ketosynthase domain of a fungal PKS. A 13-kb genomic DNA fragment was identified that contained a full-length PKS gene (pksCT) of 7,838 bp with a single 56-bp intron. pksCT encodes a 2,593-amino-acid protein that contains putative domains for ketosynthase, acyltransferase, acyl carrier protein (ACP), and a rare methyltransferase. There was no obvious thioesterase domain, which usually is downstream of the ACP domain in multi-aromatic-ring PKSs. pksCT transcription was correlated with citrinin production, suggesting that the pksCT gene product was involved in citrinin biosynthesis. Homologous recombination between the wild-type allele and a truncated disruption construct resulted in a pksCT-disrupted strain of M. purpureus. The disruptant did not produce citrinin, but a pksCT revertant generated by successive endogenous recombination events in the pksCT disruptant restored citrinin production, indicating that pksCT encoded the PKS responsible for citrinin biosynthesis in M. purpureus.[1]


  1. Polyketide synthase gene responsible for citrinin biosynthesis in Monascus purpureus. Shimizu, T., Kinoshita, H., Ishihara, S., Sakai, K., Nagai, S., Nihira, T. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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