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Phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate synthetase activity affects growth and riboflavin production in Ashbya gossypii

Alberto Jiménez, María A Santos and José L Revuelta*

Author Affiliations

Instituto de Microbiología Bioquímica and Departamento de Microbiología y Genética, CSIC/Universidad de Salamanca, Campus Miguel de Unamuno, 37007, Salamanca, Spain

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BMC Biotechnology 2008, 8:67  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-8-67

Published: 9 September 2008



Phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate (PRPP) is a central compound for cellular metabolism and may be considered as a link between carbon and nitrogen metabolism. PRPP is directly involved in the de novo and salvage biosynthesis of GTP, which is the immediate precursor of riboflavin. The industrial production of this vitamin using the fungus Ashbya gossypii is an important biotechnological process that is strongly influenced by substrate availability.


Here we describe the characterization and manipulation of two genes of A. gossypii encoding PRPP synthetase (AGR371C and AGL080C). We show that the AGR371C and AGL080C gene products participate in PRPP synthesis and exhibit inhibition by ADP. We also observed a major contribution of AGL080C to total PRPP synthetase activity, which was confirmed by an evident growth defect of the Δagl080c strain. Moreover, we report the overexpression of wild-type and mutant deregulated isoforms of Agr371cp and Agl080cp that significantly enhanced the production of riboflavin in the engineered A. gossypii strains.


It is shown that alterations in PRPP synthetase activity have pleiotropic effects on the fungal growth pattern and that an increase in PRPP synthetase enzymatic activity can be used to enhance riboflavin production in A. gossypii.