Fungi produce a multitude of low-molecular-mass compounds known as secondary metabolites, which have roles in a range of cellular processes such as transcription, development and intercellular communication. In addition, many of these compounds now have important applications, for instance, as antibiotics or immunosuppressants. Genome mining efforts indicate that the capability of fungi to produce secondary metabolites has been substantially underestimated because many of the fungal secondary metabolite biosynthesis gene clusters are silent under standard cultivation conditions. In this Review, I describe our current understanding of the regulatory elements that modulate the transcription of genes involved in secondary metabolism. I also discuss how an improved knowledge of these regulatory elements will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the physiological and ecological functions of these important compounds and will pave the way for a novel avenue to drug discovery through targeted activation of silent gene clusters.
PubMed ID: 23178386
Journal: Nat. Rev. Microbiol.
Date Published: 26th Nov 2012
Author: Axel A Brakhage
Created: 14th Dec 2012 at 13:59
Last updated: 14th Dec 2012 at 13:59