Targeted Gene Disruption in Koji Mold Aspergillus oryzae

Filamentous fungi have received attentions as hosts for heterologous protein production because of their high secretion capability and eukaryotic post-translational modifications. One of the safest hosts for heterologous protein production is Koji mold Aspergillus oryzaesince it has been used in the production of Japanese fermented foods for over 1,000 years. The production levels of proteins from higher eukaryotes are much lower than those of homologous (fungal) proteins. Bottlenecks in the heterologous protein production are suggested to be proteolytic degradation of the produced protein in the medium and the secretory pathway. For construction of excellent host strains, many genes causing the bottlenecks should be disrupted rapidly and efficiently. We developed a marker recycling system with the highly efficient gene-targeting background in A. oryzae. By employing this technique, we performed multiple gene disruption of the ten protease genes. The decuple protease gene disruptant showed fourfold production level of a heterologous protein compared with the wild-type strain.

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