September 15, 2020
Journal Article

Deletion analysis of the itaconic acid biosynthesis gene cluster components in Aspergillus pseudoterreus ATCC32359

Shuang Deng
Ziyu Dai
Marie Swita
Kyle Pomraning
Beth Hofstad
Ellen Panisko
Jon Magnuson


The filamentous fungus Aspergillus terreus has been successfully used for industrial production of itaconic acid (IA) for many years. The IA biosynthesis pathway has recently been characterized at a molecular genetic level as an IA gene cluster (IA cluster) by a clone-based transcriptomic approach. The cluster consists of four genes, including genes for cis-aconitic acid decarboxylase (cadA), a predicted transcription factor (tf), mitochondrial organic acid transporter (mttA), and MFS (Major Facilitator Superfamily) type transporter (mfsA). In this research, we performed EST (Expressed Sequence Tag) analysis and systematic gene deletions to investigate the role of those genes in IA biosynthesis in A. pseudoterreus ATCC32359. EST analysis showed a similar expression pattern among those four genes that was distinct from neighbouring genes and further confirmed that they belong to the same biosynthesis cluster. Systematic gene deletion analysis demonstrated that tf, cadA, mttA, and mfsA genes in the cluster are essential for IA production. Deletion of any of them will either completely abolish the IA production or dramatically decrease amount of IA produced. More importantly, a significant amount of aconitic acid was detected in the cadA deletion strain but not in the other deletion strains. Therefore, the cadA deletion strain is a novel microorganism host for production of aconitic acid and other value-added chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass.

Revised: September 15, 2020 | Published: May 1, 2020


Deng S., Z. Dai, M.S. Swita, K.R. Pomraning, B.A. Hofstad, E.A. Panisko, and S.E. Baker, et al. 2020. "Deletion analysis of the itaconic acid biosynthesis gene cluster components in Aspergillus pseudoterreus ATCC32359." Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 104, no. 9:3981-3992. PNNL-SA-144713. doi:10.1007/s00253-020-10418-0