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Overexpression of global regulator LaeA increases secondary metabolite production in Monascus purpureus

Zhang, Chan, Zhang, Han, Zhu, Qianqian, Hao, Shuai, Chai, Shiyuan, Li, Yinghui, Jiao, Zi, Shi, Jiachen, Sun, Baoguo, Wang, Chengtao
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2020 v.104 no.7 pp. 3049-3060
Monascus purpureus, fungi, gene overexpression, genes, high performance liquid chromatography, lovastatin, mycelium, pigments, scanning electron microscopy, secondary metabolites, spectrophotometers
Monascus is a filamentous fungus that produces several secondary metabolites. Here, we investigated the effects of the global regulator LaeA on the synthesis of pigments and monacolin K in Monascus purpureus with spectrophotometer and HPLC methods. The LaeA gene was isolated from M. purpureus M1 to create an overexpression construct. An LaeA-overexpressing strain L3 was with 48.6% higher monacolin K production than the M1 strain. The L3 strain also produced higher Monascus pigments than the M1 strain. SEM showed that LaeA overexpression resulted in altered mycelial morphology. Compared with the M1 strain, the L3 strain expressed higher levels of monacolin K synthesis-related genes mokA, mokB, mokE, and mokH. Overall, these results suggest that LaeA plays a role in regulating the production of secondary metabolites and mycelial growth in Monascus. This study provides important insights into the mechanisms underlying the effects of the LaeA gene on the secondary metabolites of M. purpureus.