Conversion of viridicatic acid to crustosic acid by cytochrome P450 enzyme-catalysed hydroxylation and spontaneous cyclisation

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2021 Dec;105(24):9181-9189. doi: 10.1007/s00253-021-11674-4. Epub 2021 Nov 11.


Cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) are considered nature's most versatile catalysts and play a crucial role in regio- and stereoselective oxidation reactions on a broad range of organic molecules. The oxyfunctionalisation of unactivated carbon-hydrogen (C-H) bonds, in particular, represents a key step in the biosynthesis of many natural products as it provides substrates with increased reactivity for tailoring reactions. In this study, we investigated the function of the P450 enzyme TraB in the terrestric acid biosynthetic pathway. We firstly deleted the gene coding for the DNA repair subunit protein Ku70 by using split marker-based deletion plasmids for convenient recycling of the selection marker to improve gene targeting in Penicillium crustosum. Hereby, we reduced ectopic DNA integration and facilitated genetic manipulation in P. crustosum. Afterward, gene deletion in the Δku70 mutant of the native producer P. crustosum and heterologous expression in Aspergillus nidulans with precursor feeding proved the involvement of TraB in the formation of crustosic acid by catalysing the essential hydroxylation reaction of viridicatic acid. KEY POINTS: •Deletion of Ku70 by using split marker approach for selection marker recycling. •Functional identification of the cytochrome P450 enzyme TraB. •Fulfilling the reaction steps in the terrestric acid biosynthesis.

Keywords: Cytochrome P450; Hydroxylation; Marker recycling; Split marker approach; Terrestric acid biosynthesis.

MeSH terms

  • Acids / metabolism*
  • Aspergillus nidulans / genetics
  • Aspergillus nidulans / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System* / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System* / metabolism
  • Hydroxylation
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Penicillium / enzymology*


  • Acids
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System

Supplementary concepts

  • Penicillium crustosum