Genes involved in carotene synthesis and mating in Blakeslea trispora

V. Kuzina, H. Ramirez-Medina, H. Visser, A.J.J. van Ooyen, E. Cerda-Olmedo, J.A. van den Berg

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Mating of Blakeslea trispora and other molds of the order Mucorales requires the interaction of mycelia of opposite sex, (+) and (-), leading to the development of specialized structures and to an enhanced accumulation of beta-carotene. Industry obtains beta-carotene by co-cultivating appropriate strains of Blakeslea (mated cultures). Gene transcription in single and mated cultures was assayed by cDNA-AFLP, a technique to observe the differential expression of subsets of mRNA fragments. Overexpression in mated cultures is about ten times more frequent than underexpression. We obtained and sequenced fragments of 97 candidate genes that appeared to be overexpressed during mating and confirmed four of them by reverse transcription and real-time PCR. Comparisons with gene sequences from other organisms suggest functions in carotene biosynthesis (4 genes), energy metabolism (8), cell wall synthesis (1), transfer of acetyl groups (1), and regulatory processes (10). Sodium acetate inhibited sexual overexpression in about two-thirds of the candidate genes and acted as a signal with broad effects on the metabolism and the morphology of mated cultures. Our work offers new materials for the study of carotene biosynthesis and its regulation and for the improvement of carotene production with Mucorales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-152
JournalCurrent Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • beta-carotene
  • cdna-aflp
  • saccharomyces-cerevisiae
  • expression data
  • biosynthesis
  • phycomyces
  • light
  • mucorales
  • lycopene
  • mutants


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