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Cloning of the Aspergillus parasiticus apa-2 gene associated with the regulation of aflatoxin biosynthesis.

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An Aspergillus parasiticus gene, designated apa-2, was identified as a regulatory gene associated with aflatoxin biosynthesis. The apa-2 gene was cloned on the basis of overproduction of pathway intermediates following transformation of fungal strains with cosmid DNA containing the aflatoxin biosynthetic genes nor-1 and ver-1. Transformation of an O-methylsterigmatocystin-accumulating strain, A. parasiticus SRRC 2043, with a 5.5-kb HindIII-XbaI DNA fragment containing apa-2 resulted in overproduction of all aflatoxin pathway intermediates analyzed. Specific enzyme activities associated with the conversion of norsolorinic acid and sterigmatocystin were increased approximately twofold. The apa-2 gene was found to complement an A. flavus afl-2 mutant strain for aflatoxin production, suggesting that apa-2 is functionally homologous to afl-2. Comparison of the A. parasiticus apa-2 gene DNA sequence with that of the A. flavus afl-2 gene (G. A. Payne, G. J. Nystorm, D. Bhatnagar, T. E. Cleveland, and C. P. Woloshuk, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 59:156-162, 1993) showed that they shared > 95% DNA homology. Physical mapping of cosmid subclones placed apa-2 approximately 8 kb from ver-1.

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