Ashbya gossypii is a natural riboflavin overproducer used in the industrial production of the vitamin. We have isolated an insertional mutant exhibiting higher levels of riboflavin production than the wild type. DNA analysis of the targeted locus in the mutant strain revealed that a syntenic homolog of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae BAS1 gene, a member of the Myb family of transcription factors, was inactivated. Directed gene disruption of AgBAS1 confirmed the phenotype observed for the insertional mutant, and the Deltabas1 mutant also showed auxotrophy for adenine and several growth defects, such as a delay in the germination of the spores and an abnormally prolonged trophic phase. Additionally, we demonstrate that the DNA-binding domain of AgBas1p is able to bind to the Bas1-binding motifs in the AgADE4 promoter; we also show a clear nuclear localization of a green fluorescent protein-Bas1 fusion protein. Real-time quantitative PCR analyses comparing the wild type and the Deltabas1 mutant revealed that AgBAS1 was responsible for the adenine-mediated regulation of the purine and glycine pathways, since the transcription of the ADE4 and SHM2 genes was virtually abolished in the Deltabas1 mutant. Furthermore, the transcription of ADE4 and SHM2 in the Deltabas1 mutant did not diminish during the transition from the trophic to the productive phase did not diminish, in contrast to what occurred in the wild-type strain. A C-terminal deletion in the AgBAS1 gene, comprising a hypothetical regulatory domain, caused constitutive activation of the purine and glycine pathways, enhanced riboflavin overproduction, and prolonged the trophic phase. Taking these results together, we propose that in A. gossypii, AgBAS1 is an important transcription factor that is involved in the regulation of different physiological processes, such as purine and glycine biosynthesis, riboflavin overproduction, and growth.
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