Genetic organization and function of the aflatoxin B1 biosynthetic genes

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1998 Mar 15;160(2):169-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1998.tb12907.x.


Aflatoxins are secondary metabolites produced by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Most of the genes involved in the biosynthesis of aflatoxin are contained within a single cluster in the genome of these filamentous fungi. Studies directed toward understanding the molecular biology of aflatoxin biosynthesis have led to a number of important discoveries. A pair of fatty acid synthase genes were identified that are involved uniquely in aflatoxin biosynthesis. Two genes were also characterized that represent new families of cytochrome P450 monooxygenases. Gene expression is coordinated during aflatoxin production and is under the control of a positive regulatory gene belonging to a family of fungal transcriptional activators associated with various metabolic pathways in fungi.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aflatoxin B1 / biosynthesis*
  • Aflatoxin B1 / genetics*
  • Anthraquinones / metabolism
  • Aspergillus / genetics*
  • Aspergillus / metabolism
  • Aspergillus flavus / genetics*
  • Aspergillus flavus / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genes, Fungal*
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Multigene Family
  • Sterigmatocystin / metabolism


  • Anthraquinones
  • Sterigmatocystin
  • versicolorins
  • Aflatoxin B1
  • norsolorinic acid