Regulation of Secondary Metabolism in the Penicillium Genus

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Dec 12;21(24):9462. doi: 10.3390/ijms21249462.


Penicillium, one of the most common fungi occurring in a diverse range of habitats, has a worldwide distribution and a large economic impact on human health. Hundreds of the species belonging to this genus cause disastrous decay in food crops and are able to produce a varied range of secondary metabolites, from which we can distinguish harmful mycotoxins. Some Penicillium species are considered to be important producers of patulin and ochratoxin A, two well-known mycotoxins. The production of these mycotoxins and other secondary metabolites is controlled and regulated by different mechanisms. The aim of this review is to highlight the different levels of regulation of secondary metabolites in the Penicillium genus.

Keywords: Penicillium; control of gene expression; regulation; secondary metabolism; transcription factors; virulence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / genetics
  • Multigene Family / genetics
  • Mycotoxins / metabolism*
  • Osmoregulation / genetics
  • Penicillium / metabolism*
  • Penicillium / pathogenicity
  • Secondary Metabolism / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Virulence


  • Mycotoxins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Cyclic AMP