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pH-Signaling Transcription Factor AopacC Regulates Ochratoxin A Biosynthesis in Aspergillus ochraceus

Wang, Yan, Liu, Fei, Wang, Liuqing, Wang, Qi, Selvaraj, Jonathan Nimal, Zhao, Yueju, Wang, Yun, Xing, Fuguo, Liu, Yang
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2018 v.66 no.17 pp. 4394-4401
Aspergillus ochraceus, Penicillium, biosynthesis, fruits, genes, loss-of-function mutation, mutants, mycelium, ochratoxin A, pH, pathogenicity, pears, sporulation, transcription (genetics), transcription factors
In Aspergillus and Penicillium species, an essential pH-response transcription factor pacC is involved in growth, pathogenicity, and toxigenicity. To investigate the connection between ochratoxin A (OTA) biosynthesis and ambient pH, the AopacC in Aspergillus ochraceus was functionally characterized using a loss-of-function mutant. The mycelium growth was inhibited under pH 4.5 and 10.0, while the sporulation increased under alkaline condition. A reduction of mycelium growth and an elevation of sporulation was observed in ΔAopacC mutant. Compared to neutral condition, OTA contents were respectively reduced by 71.6 and 79.8% under acidic and alkaline conditions. The expression of AopacC increased with the elevated pH, and deleting AopacC dramatically decreased OTA production and biosynthetic genes Aopks expression. Additionally, the ΔAopacC mutant exhibited attenuated infection ability toward pear fruits. These results suggest that AopacC is an alkaline-induced regulator responsible for growth and OTA biosynthesis in A. ochraceus and this regulatory mechanism might be pH-dependent.