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The GC and window-averaged DNA curvature profile of secondary metabolite gene cluster in Aspergillus fumigatus genome


An immense variety of complex secondary metabolites is produced by filamentous fungi including Aspergillus fumigatus, a main inducer of invasive aspergillosis. The identification of fungal secondary metabolite gene cluster is essential for the characterization of fungal secondary metabolism in terms of genetics and biochemistry through recombinant technologies such as gene disruption and cloning. Most of the prediction methods for secondary metabolite gene cluster severely depend on homology searches. However, homology-based approach has intrinsic limitation to unknown or novel gene cluster. We analyzed the GC and window-averaged DNA curvature profile of 26 secondary metabolite gene clusters in the A. fumigatus genome to find out potential conserved features of secondary metabolite gene cluster. Fifteen secondary metabolite gene clusters showed a conserved pattern in window-averaged DNA curvature profile, that is, the DNA regions including secondary metabolic signature genes such as polyketide synthase, nonribosomal peptide synthase, and/or dimethylallyl tryptophan synthase consisted of window-averaged DNA curvature values lower than 0.18 and these DNA regions were at least 20 kb. Forty percent of secondary metabolite gene clusters with this conserved pattern were related to severe regulation by a transcription factor, LaeA. Our result could be used for identification of other fungal secondary metabolite gene clusters, especially for secondary metabolite gene cluster that is severely regulated by LaeA or other proteins with similar function to LaeA.

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The CURVATURE program was kindly given by Dr. Alexander Bolshoy. This research was supported by the postdoctoral fellowship program of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

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Correspondence to Satoru Miyano.

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Do, J.H., Miyano, S. The GC and window-averaged DNA curvature profile of secondary metabolite gene cluster in Aspergillus fumigatus genome. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 80, 841–847 (2008).

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  • secondary metabolite
  • gene cluster
  • LaeA