Homologous and heterologous protein production by filamentous fungi is often limited by the expression of proteases at high levels. By eliminating specific protease activities, protein production in Aspergillus niger can be improved considerably. Both classical mutagenesis and gene disruption techniques have yielded strains with reduced protease expression. Combinations of these mutations and disruptions result in a further reduction of protease activity. The coupling of efficient promoters to target genes allows their expression under conditions that repress the expression of several proteases, which further improves product yields. The strategies used have led to the development of a set of tester strains from which the appropriate genetic background for production can be selected.