Analysis of the global regulator Lae1 uncovers a connection between Lae1 and the histone acetyltransferase HAT1 in Fusarium fujikuroi.
The fungus Fusarium fujikuroi causes "bakanae" disease of rice due to its ability to produce gibberellins (GAs), a family of plant hormones. Recent genome sequencing revealed the genetic capacity for the biosynthesis of 46 additional secondary metabolites besides the industrially produced GAs. Among them are the pigments bikaverin and fusarubins, as well as mycotoxins, such as fumonisins, fusarin C, beauvericin, and fusaric acid. However, half of the potential secondary metabolite gene clusters are silent. In recent years, it has been shown that the fungal specific velvet complex is involved in global regulation of secondary metabolism in several filamentous fungi. We have previously shown that deletion of the three components of the F. fujikuroi velvet complex, vel1, vel2, and lae1, almost totally abolished biosynthesis of GAs, fumonisins and fusarin C. Here, we present a deeper insight into the genome-wide regulatory impact of Lae1 on secondary metabolism. Over-expression of lae1 resulted in de-repression of GA biosynthetic genes under otherwise repressing high nitrogen conditions demonstrating that the nitrogen repression is overcome. In addition, over-expression of one of five tested histone acetyltransferase genes, HAT1, was capable of returning GA gene expression and GA production to the GA-deficient Δlae1 mutant. Deletion and over-expression of HAT1 in the wild type resulted in downregulation and upregulation of GA gene expression, respectively, indicating that HAT1 together with Lae1 plays an essential role in the regulation of GA biosynthesis.