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Open AccessArticle

Regulation of Morphology, Aflatoxin Production, and Virulence of Aspergillus flavus by the Major Nitrogen Regulatory Gene areA

1
Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Fungi and Mycotoxins of Fujian Province, Key Laboratory of Biopesticide and Chemical Biology of Education Ministry, and School of Life Sciences, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350002, China
2
Biotechnology Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
3
School of Life Science, Jiangsu Normal University, Xuzhou 221116, Jiangsu, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Toxins 2019, 11(12), 718; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11120718
Received: 7 October 2019 / Revised: 24 November 2019 / Accepted: 26 November 2019 / Published: 10 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aflatoxins: Food Sources, Occurrence and Toxicological Effects)
Aspergillus flavus is a renowned plant, animal and human pathogen. areA is a global nitrogen regulatory gene of the GATA transcription factor family, shown to be the major nitrogen regulator. In this study, we identified areA in A. flavus and studied its function. The AreA protein contained a signatory zinc finger domain, which is extremely conserved across fungal species. Gene deletion (ΔareA) and over-expression (OE::areA) strains were constructed by homologous recombination to elucidate the role of areA in A. flavus. The ΔareA strain was unable to efficiently utilize secondary nitrogen sources for growth of A. flavus, and it had poorly developed conidiophores, when observed on complete medium, resulting in the production of significantly less conidia than the wild-type strain (WT). Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) production was reduced in ΔareA compared with the WT strain in most conditions tested, and ΔareA had impaired virulence in peanut seeds. areA also played important roles in the sensitivity of A. flavus to osmotic, cell wall and oxidative stresses. Hence, areA was found to be important for the growth, aflatoxin production and pathogenicity of A. flavus. This work sheds light on the function of areA in the regulation of the nitrogen metabolism of A. flavus, and consequently aims at providing new ways for controlling the crossover pathogen, A. flavus. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aspergillus flavus; aflatoxins; nitrogen metabolism; glutamine; AreA Aspergillus flavus; aflatoxins; nitrogen metabolism; glutamine; AreA
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Fasoyin, O.E.; Yang, K.; Qiu, M.; Wang, B.; Wang, S.; Wang, S. Regulation of Morphology, Aflatoxin Production, and Virulence of Aspergillus flavus by the Major Nitrogen Regulatory Gene areA. Toxins 2019, 11, 718.

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