Search for transcription factors affecting productivity of the polyketide FR901512 in filamentous fungal sp. No. 14919 and identification of Drf1, a novel negative regulator of the biosynthetic gene cluster

In order to increase secondary metabolite production in filamentous fungi, a transcription factor gene in the biosynthetic gene cluster and global regulator genes such as laeA are considered plausible as targets for overexpression by genetic modification. In this study, we examined these overexpression effect in fungal sp. No. 14919 that produces FR901512, an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor. Resultantly, the productivity was improved at 1.7–1.8 fold by overexpressing frlE, a transcription factor gene in the biosynthetic gene cluster, whereas productivity did not change by overexpression of laeA and veA. Furthermore, we searched for extra transcription factors affecting the productivity by transcriptome analysis between wild-type strain and highly productive UV mutants. After verifying productivity decrease by overexpression, Drf1, a novel transcription factor encoded by drf1 was identified as the negative regulator. Because each frlE product (FrlE) and Drf1 worked on the same cluster in positive and negative regulatory manners, their network was analyzed.

By focusing on transcription factors in fungal sp. No. 14919 produces FR901512, we identified Drf1, negative regulation factor of the FR901512 biosynthetic gene cluster.