Overexpression of two penicillin structural genes in Aspergillus nidulans

Mol Gen Genet. 1995 Jan 6;246(1):110-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00290139.


We have placed two different penicillin structural genes from Aspergillus nidulans, ipnA (encoding isopenicillin N synthetase, IPNS) and acyA (encoding acyl-CoA:6-aminopenicillanic acid acyltransferase, AAT), under the control of the strong alcA promoter [alcA(p)]. Single copies of these transcriptional fusions were targeted to the same chromosomal location and conditions have been worked out which simultaneously allow induction of the alcA(p) and support penicillin biosynthesis. Transcriptional induction of the chimeric genes alcA(p)::ipnA or alcA(p)::acyA(cdna) in the relevant recombinant strains results in 10-fold higher levels of the ipnA or acyA transcripts than those resulting from transcription of the corresponding endogenous genes. This increase causes a 40-fold rise in IPNS activity or a 8-fold rise in AAT activity. Despite this rise in enzyme levels, forced expression of the ipnA gene results in only a modest increase in levels of exported penicillin, whereas forced expression of the acyA gene reduces penicillin production, showing that neither of these enzymes is rate-limiting for penicillin biosynthesis in A. nidulans. A genomic version of the alcA(p)::acyA fusion in which the acyA gene is interrupted by three small introns, is inducible by threonine to a lesser extent (as determined by both acyA mRNA levels and AAT enzyme levels) than the corresponding cDNA version, suggesting that processing of the introns present in the primary transcript may limit acyA expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / genetics
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Aspergillus nidulans / enzymology
  • Aspergillus nidulans / genetics*
  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Enzyme Induction
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Penicillin-Binding Proteins*
  • Penicillins / biosynthesis*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Penicillin-Binding Proteins
  • Penicillins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • isopenicillin N synthetase
  • Acyltransferases
  • acyl-CoA-6-aminopenicillanic acid acyltransferase