Synthetic control devices for gene regulation in Penicillium chrysogenum

László Mózsik, Zsófia Büttel, Roel A L Bovenberg, Arnold J M Driessen, Yvonne Nygård*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: Orthogonal, synthetic control devices were developed for Penicillium chrysogenum, a model filamentous fungus and industrially relevant cell factory. In the synthetic transcription factor, the QF DNA-binding domain of the transcription factor of the quinic acid gene cluster of Neurospora crassa is fused to the VP16 activation domain. This synthetic transcription factor controls the expression of genes under a synthetic promoter containing quinic acid upstream activating sequence (QUAS) elements, where it binds. A gene cluster may demand an expression tuned individually for each gene, which is a great advantage provided by this system.

RESULTS: The control devices were characterized with respect to three of their main components: expression of the synthetic transcription factors, upstream activating sequences, and the affinity of the DNA binding domain of the transcription factor to the upstream activating domain. This resulted in synthetic expression devices, with an expression ranging from hardly detectable to a level similar to that of highest expressed native genes. The versatility of the control device was demonstrated by fluorescent reporters and its application was confirmed by synthetically controlling the production of penicillin.

CONCLUSIONS: The characterization of the control devices in microbioreactors, proved to give excellent indications for how the devices function in production strains and conditions. We anticipate that these well-characterized and robustly performing control devices can be widely applied for the production of secondary metabolites and other compounds in filamentous fungi.

Original languageEnglish
Article number203
Number of pages13
JournalMicrobial Cell Factories
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18-Nov-2019


  • Synthetic expression system
  • Gene regulation
  • Penicillium chrysogenum
  • Synthetic gene cluster
  • Secondary metabolite production
  • Hybrid transcription factor
  • TET-ON

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