Nat Genet (Dec 1 2018)
Aspergillus section Nigri comprises filamentous fungi relevant to biomedicine, bioenergy, health, and biotechnology. To learn more about what genetically sets these species apart, as well as about potential applications in biotechnology and biomedicine, we sequenced 23 genomes de novo, forming a full genome compendium for the section (26 species), as well as 6 Aspergillus niger isolates. This allowed us to quantify both inter- and intraspecies genomic variation. We further predicted 17,903 carbohydrate-active enzymes and 2,717 secondary metabolite gene clusters, which we condensed into 455 distinct families corresponding to compound classes, 49% of which are only found in single species. We performed metabolomics and genetic engineering to correlate genotypes to phenotypes, as demonstrated for the metabolite aurasperone, and by heterologous transfer of citrate production to Aspergillus nidulans. Experimental and computational analyses showed that both secondary metabolism and regulation are key factors that are significant in the delineation of Aspergillus species.