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Fungal genetics and biology : FG & B

The inducers 1,3-diaminopropane and spermidine produce a drastic increase in the expression of the penicillin biosynthetic genes for prolonged time, mediated by the laeA regulator.


PMID 23089625

Abstract

We described previously that an autoinducer molecule, identified as 1,3-diaminopropane (1,3-DAP), is secreted by Penicillium chrysogenum and Acremonium chrysogenum. Using pH-controlled fermentor cultures we have observed in this work that 1,3-DAP and spermidine clearly stimulate the biosynthesis of benzylpenicillin in P. chrysogenum, both in defined and in complex penicillin production media. Both 1,3-DAP and spermidine, but not putrescine (1,4-diaminobutane), produce a drastic increase in the transcript levels of the penicillin biosynthetic genes pcbAB, pcbC and penDE. These polyamines do not affect the expression of the global pH-stress regulator pacC gene, thus excluding that the effect of 1,3-DAP and spermidine is due to a modification of the pH control mechanism. Expression of the three penicillin biosynthetic genes is drastically reduced in a laeA-knock-down mutant of P. chrysogenum, which produces very low levels of benzylpenicillin. Interestingly, 1,3-DAP and spermidine revert the effect of the laeA knock-down mutation, completely restoring the levels of penicillin production. Furthermore, 1,3-DAP and spermidine enhanced the expression of laeA in the parental strain and restored the levels of laeA transcripts in the laeA knock-down mutant. Taken together these results indicate that the stimulatory effect of the inducer molecules 1,3-DAP and spermidine is exerted, at least in part, through the stimulation of the expression of laeA, a global regulator that acts epigenetically on the expression of secondary metabolite genes by heterochromatin reorganization.