An overview on the biosynthesis and metabolic regulation of monacolin K/lovastatin
Lovastatin/monacolin K (MK) is used as a lipid lowering drug, due to its effective hypercholesterolemic properties, comparable to synthetic statins. Lovastatin's biosynthetic pathway and gene cluster composition have been studied in depth in Aspergillus terreus. Evidence shows that the MK biosynthetic pathway and gene cluster in Monascus sp. are similar to those of lovastatin in A. terreus. Currently, research efforts have been focusing on the metabolic regulation of MK/lovastatin synthesis, and the evidence shows that a combination of extracellular and intracellular factors is essential for proper MK/lovastatin metabolism. Here, we comprehensively review the research progress on MK/lovastatin biosynthetic pathways, its synthetic precursors and inducing substances and metabolic regulation, with a view to providing reference for future research on fungal metabolism regulation and metabolic engineering for MK/lovastatin production.