Evidence for a Compartmentation of Penicillin Biosynthesis in a High- And a Low-Producing Strain of Penicillium Chrysogenum

J Gen Microbiol. 1991 Jul;137(7):1653-60. doi: 10.1099/00221287-137-7-1653.


Pulse-chase experiments using [U14C]valine were done with P2 and Q176, high- and low-penicillin-producing strains of Penicillium chrysogenum. The metabolic flux of this amino acid into protein and penicillin was measured, and compartmentation of penicillin biosynthesis was assessed. Strain P2 took up 14C-valine more slowly than strain Q176, but their rates of incorporation into protein were comparable. Incorporation of 14C-valine into penicillin occurred immediately with the high-producer P2, but exhibited a lag with Q176. After 14C-valine had been removed from the medium, the specific radioactivity of penicillin continued to increase in Q176 but started to decrease immediately in P2. The specific radioactivities of 14C-valine in protein and in penicillin were significantly different in both strains: Q176 had a higher specific radioactivity of valine in penicillin than P2, whereas P2 had a higher specific radioactivity of valine in protein than Q176. Moreover, the specific radioactivity of 14C-valine in penicillin was 20-fold higher in strain Q176 than in P2. These results indicate that penicillin and protein biosynthesis use different pools of cellular valine, and that exchange of valine between the two compartments is slow in the low-producer, but rapid in the high-producer strain. Hence these results indicate a further control point of penicillin biosynthesis in P. chrysogenum.

MeSH terms

  • 2-Aminoadipic Acid / metabolism
  • Cell Compartmentation / physiology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Kinetics
  • Penicillins / biosynthesis*
  • Penicillium chrysogenum / metabolism*
  • Valine / metabolism


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Penicillins
  • 2-Aminoadipic Acid
  • Valine
  • Cysteine