Recent advances in the genome mining of Aspergillus secondary metabolites (covering 2012–2018)
Secondary metabolites (SMs) produced by filamentous fungi possess diverse bioactivities that make them excellent drug candidates. Whole genome sequencing has revealed that fungi have the capacity to produce a far greater number of SMs than have been isolated, since many of the genes involved in SM biosynthesis are either silent or expressed at very low levels in standard laboratory conditions. There has been significant effort to activate SM biosynthetic genes and link them to their downstream products, as the SMs produced by these “cryptic” pathways offer a promising source for new drug discovery. Further, an understanding of the genes involved in SM biosynthesis facilitates product yield optimization of first-generation molecules and genetic engineering of second-generation analogs. This review covers advances made in genome mining SMs produced by Aspergillus nidulans, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger, and Aspergillus terreus in the past six years (2012–2018). Genetic identification and molecular characterization of SM biosynthetic gene clusters, along with proposed biosynthetic pathways, will be discussed in depth.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Natural Products