Fungal biology

Proteomic profile of Aspergillus flavus in response to water activity.

PMID 25749363


Aspergillus flavus, a common contaminant of crops and stored grains, can produce aflatoxins that are harmful to humans and other animals. Water activity (aw) is one of the key factors influencing both fungal growth and mycotoxin production. In this study, we used the isobaric tagging for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) technique to investigate the effect of aw on the proteomic profile of A. flavus. A total of 3566 proteins were identified, of which 837 were differentially expressed in response to variations in aw. Among these 837 proteins, 403 were over-expressed at 0.99 aw, whereas 434 proteins were over-expressed at 0.93 aw. According to Gene Ontology (GO) analysis, the secretion of extracellular hydrolases increased as aw was raised, suggesting that extracellular hydrolases may play a critical role in induction of aflatoxin biosynthesis. On the basis of Clusters of Orthologous Groups (COG) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) categorizations, we identified an exportin protein, KapK, that may down-regulate aflatoxin biosynthesis by changing the location of NirA. Finally, we considered the role of two osmotic stress-related proteins (Sln1 and Glo1) in the Hog1 pathway and investigated the expression patterns of proteins related to aflatoxin biosynthesis. The data uncovered in this study are critical for understanding the effect of water stress on toxin production and for the development of strategies to control toxin contamination of agricultural products.