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Phytotoxin production in Aspergillus terreus is regulated by independent environmental signals

Gressler, Markus; Meyer, Florian; Heine, Daniel; Hortschansky, Peter; Hertweck, Christian; Brock, Matthias


Markus Gressler

Florian Meyer

Daniel Heine

Peter Hortschansky

Christian Hertweck


Secondary metabolites have a great potential as pharmaceuticals, but there are only a few examples where regulation of gene cluster expression has been correlated with ecological and physiological relevance for the producer. Here, signals, mediators, and biological effects of terrein production were studied in the fungus Aspergillus terreus to elucidate the contribution of terrein to ecological competition. Terrein causes fruit surface lesions and inhibits plant seed germination. Additionally, terrein is moderately antifungal and reduces ferric iron, thereby supporting growth of A. terreus under iron starvation. In accordance, the lack of nitrogen or iron or elevated methionine levels induced terrein production and was dependent on either the nitrogen response regulators AreA and AtfA or the iron response regulator HapX. Independent signal transduction allows complex sensing of the environment and, combined with its broad spectrum of biological activities, terrein provides a prominent example of adapted secondary metabolite production in response to environmental competition.


Gressler, M., Meyer, F., Heine, D., Hortschansky, P., Hertweck, C., & Brock, M. (2015). Phytotoxin production in Aspergillus terreus is regulated by independent environmental signals. eLife, 4,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 13, 2015
Publication Date Jul 14, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 14, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 14, 2017
Journal eLife
Electronic ISSN 2050-084X
Publisher eLife Sciences Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Article Number e07861
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:


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