Depsipeptide Aspergillicins Revealed by Chromatin Reader Protein Deletion.
ABSTRACT: Expression of biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) in filamentous fungi is highly regulated by epigenetic remodeling of chromatin structure. Two classes of histone modifying proteins, writers (which place modifications on histone tails) and erasers (which remove the modifications), have been used extensively to activate cryptic BGCs in fungi. Here, for the first time, we present activation of a cryptic BGC by a third category of histone modifying proteins, reader proteins that recognize histone tail modifications and commonly mediate writer and eraser activity. Loss of the reader SntB (? sntB) resulted in the synthesis of two cryptic cyclic hexa-depsipeptides, aspergillicin A and aspergillicin F, in the fungus Aspergillus flavus. Liquid chromatography, high resolution mass spectrometry, and NMR analysis coupled with bioinformatic analysis and gene deletion experiments revealed that a six adenylation (A) domain nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS, called AgiA) and O-methyltransferase (AgiB) were required for metabolite formation. A proposed biosynthetic scheme illustrates the requirement for unusual NRPS domains, such as a starting condensation domain and a thiolesterase domain proposed to cyclize the depsipeptides. This latter activity has only been found in bacterial but not fungal NRPS. The agi BGC-unique to A. flavus and some closely related species (e.g., A. oryzae, A. arachidicola)-is located next to a conserved Aspergillus siderophore BGC syntenic to other fungi.
Project description:Due to the role, both beneficial and harmful, that fungal secondary metabolites play in society, the study of their regulation is of great importance. Genes for any one secondary metabolite are contiguously arranged in a biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) and subject to regulation through the remodeling of chromatin. Histone modifying enzymes can place or remove post translational modifications (PTM) on histone tails which influences how tight or relaxed the chromatin is, impacting transcription of BGCs. In a recent forward genetic screen, the epigenetic reader SntB was identified as a transcriptional regulator of the sterigmatocystin BGC in A. nidulans, and regulated the related metabolite aflatoxin in A. flavus. In this study we investigate the role of SntB in the plant pathogen A. flavus by analyzing both ?sntB and overexpression sntB genetic mutants. Deletion of sntB increased global levels of H3K9K14 acetylation and impaired several developmental processes including sclerotia formation, heterokaryon compatibility, secondary metabolite synthesis, and ability to colonize host seeds; in contrast the overexpression strain displayed fewer phenotypes. ?sntB developmental phenotypes were linked with SntB regulation of NosA, a transcription factor regulating the A. flavus cell fusion cascade.
Project description:Natural product discovery efforts have focused primarily on microbial biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) containing large multimodular polyketide synthases and nonribosomal peptide synthetases; however, sequencing of fungal genomes has revealed a vast number of BGCs containing smaller NRPS-like genes of unknown biosynthetic function. Using comparative metabolomics, we show that a BGC in the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus named fsq, which contains an NRPS-like gene lacking a condensation domain, produces several new isoquinoline alkaloids known as the fumisoquins. These compounds derive from carbon-carbon bond formation between two amino acid-derived moieties followed by a sequence that is directly analogous to isoquinoline alkaloid biosynthesis in plants. Fumisoquin biosynthesis requires the N-methyltransferase FsqC and the FAD-dependent oxidase FsqB, which represent functional analogs of coclaurine N-methyltransferase and berberine bridge enzyme in plants. Our results show that BGCs containing incomplete NRPS modules may reveal new biosynthetic paradigms and suggest that plant-like isoquinoline biosynthesis occurs in diverse fungi.
Project description:Microbial secondary metabolites, including isocyanide moieties, have been extensively mined for their repertoire of bioactive properties. Although the first naturally occurring isocyanide (xanthocillin) was isolated from the fungus Penicillium notatum over half a century ago, the biosynthetic origins of fungal isocyanides remain unknown. Here we report the identification of a family of isocyanide synthases (ICSs) from the opportunistic human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus Comparative metabolomics of overexpression or knockout mutants of ICS candidate genes led to the discovery of a fungal biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) that produces xanthocillin (xan). Detailed analysis of xanthocillin biosynthesis in A. fumigatus revealed several previously undescribed compounds produced by the xan BGC, including two novel members of the melanocin family of compounds. We found both the xan BGC and a second ICS-containing cluster, named the copper-responsive metabolite (crm) BGC, to be transcriptionally responsive to external copper levels and further demonstrated that production of metabolites from the xan BGC is increased during copper starvation. The crm BGC includes a novel type of fungus-specific ICS-nonribosomal peptide synthase (NRPS) hybrid enzyme, CrmA. This family of ICS-NRPS hybrid enzymes is highly enriched in fungal pathogens of humans, insects, and plants. Phylogenetic assessment of all ICSs spanning the tree of life shows not only high prevalence throughout the fungal kingdom but also distribution in species not previously known to harbor BGCs, indicating an untapped resource of fungal secondary metabolism.IMPORTANCE Fungal ICSs are an untapped resource in fungal natural product research. Their isocyanide products have been implicated in plant and insect pathogenesis due to their ability to coordinate transition metals and disable host metalloenzymes. The discovery of a novel isocyanide-producing family of hybrid ICS-NRPS enzymes enriched in medically and agriculturally important fungal pathogens may reveal mechanisms underlying pathogenicity and afford opportunities to discover additional families of isocyanides. Furthermore, the identification of noncanonical ICS BGCs will enable refinement of BGC prediction algorithms to expand on the secondary metabolic potential of fungal and bacterial species. The identification of genes related to ICS BGCs in fungal species not previously known for secondary metabolite-producing capabilities (e.g., Saccharomyces spp.) contributes to our understanding of the evolution of BGC in fungi.
Project description:Fungal polyketide synthase (PKS)-nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) hybrids are key enzymes for synthesizing structurally diverse hybrid natural products (NPs) with characteristic biological activities. Predicting their chemical space is of particular importance in the field of natural product chemistry. However, the unexplored programming rule of the PKS module has prevented prediction of its chemical structure based on amino acid sequences. Here, we conducted a phylogenetic analysis of 884 PKS-NRPS hybrids and a modification enzyme analysis of the corresponding biosynthetic gene cluster, revealing a hidden relationship between its genealogy and core structures. This unexpected result allowed us to predict 18 biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC) groups producing known carbon skeletons (number of BGCs; 489) and 11 uncharacterized BGC groups (171). The limited number of carbon skeletons suggests that fungi tend to select PK skeletons for survival during their evolution. The possible involvement of a horizontal gene transfer event leading to the diverse distribution of PKS-NRPS genes among fungal species is also proposed. This study provides insight into the chemical space of fungal PKs and the distribution of their biosynthetic gene clusters.
Project description:Marine-sourced actinomycete genus Streptomyces continues to be an important source of new natural products. Here we report the complete genome sequence of deep-sea-derived Streptomyces olivaceus SCSIO T05, harboring 37 putative biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). A cryptic BGC for type I polyketides was activated by metabolic engineering methods, enabling the discovery of a known compound, lobophorin CR4 (1). Genome mining yielded a putative lobophorin BGC (lbp) that missed the functional FAD-dependent oxidoreductase to generate the d-kijanose, leading to the production of lobophorin CR4 without the attachment of d-kijanose to C17-OH. Using the gene-disruption method, we confirmed that the lbp BGC accounts for lobophorin biosynthesis. We conclude that metabolic engineering and genome mining provide an effective approach to activate cryptic BGCs.
Project description:The genomes of filamentous fungi contain up to 90 biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) encoding diverse secondary metabolites-an enormous reservoir of untapped chemical potential. However, the recalcitrant genetics, cryptic expression, and unculturability of these fungi prevent scientists from systematically exploiting these gene clusters and harvesting their products. As heterologous expression of fungal BGCs is largely limited to the expression of single or partial clusters, we established a scalable process for the expression of large numbers of full-length gene clusters, called FAC-MS. Using fungal artificial chromosomes (FACs) and metabolomic scoring (MS), we screened 56 secondary metabolite BGCs from diverse fungal species for expression in Aspergillus nidulans. We discovered 15 new metabolites and assigned them with confidence to their BGCs. Using the FAC-MS platform, we extensively characterized a new macrolactone, valactamide A, and its hybrid nonribosomal peptide synthetase-polyketide synthase (NRPS-PKS). The ability to regularize access to fungal secondary metabolites at an unprecedented scale stands to revitalize drug discovery platforms with renewable sources of natural products.
Project description:Pyrenophora is a fungal genus responsible for a number of major cereal diseases. Although fungi produce many specialised or secondary metabolites for defence and interacting with the surrounding environment, the repertoire of specialised metabolites (SM) within Pyrenophora pathogenic species remains mostly uncharted. In this study, an in-depth comparative analysis of the P. teres f. teres, P teres f. maculata and P. tritici-repentis potential to produce SMs, based on in silico predicted biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs), was conducted using genome assemblies from PacBio DNA reads. Conservation of BGCs between the Pyrenophora species included type I polyketide synthases, terpene synthases and the first reporting of a type III polyketide synthase in P teres f. maculata. P. teres isolates exhibited substantial expansion of non-ribosomal peptide synthases relative to P. tritici-repentis, hallmarked by the presence of tailoring cis-acting nitrogen methyltransferase domains. P. teres isolates also possessed unique non-ribosomal peptide synthase (NRPS)-indole and indole BGCs, while a P. tritici-repentis phytotoxin BGC for triticone production was absent in P. teres. These differences highlight diversification between the pathogens that reflects their different evolutionary histories, host adaption and lifestyles.
Project description:Ecological diversity in fungi is largely defined by metabolic traits, including the ability to produce secondary or "specialized" metabolites (SMs) that mediate interactions with other organisms. Fungal SM pathways are frequently encoded in biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs), which facilitate the identification and characterization of metabolic pathways. Variation in BGC composition reflects the diversity of their SM products. Recent studies have documented surprising diversity of BGC repertoires among isolates of the same fungal species, yet little is known about how this population-level variation is inherited across macroevolutionary timescales. Here, we applied a novel linkage-based algorithm to reveal previously unexplored dimensions of diversity in BGC composition, distribution, and repertoire across 101 species of Dothideomycetes, which are considered the most phylogenetically diverse class of fungi and known to produce many SMs. We predicted both complementary and overlapping sets of clustered genes compared with existing methods and identified novel gene pairs that associate with known secondary metabolite genes. We found that variation among sets of BGCs in individual genomes is due to non-overlapping BGC combinations and that several BGCs have biased ecological distributions, consistent with niche-specific selection. We observed that total BGC diversity scales linearly with increasing repertoire size, suggesting that secondary metabolites have little structural redundancy in individual fungi. We project that there is substantial unsampled BGC diversity across specific families of Dothideomycetes, which will provide a roadmap for future sampling efforts. Our approach and findings lend new insight into how BGC diversity is generated and maintained across an entire fungal taxonomic class.
Project description:Bacterial-fungal interactions are presumed to be mediated chiefly by small-molecule signals; however, little is known about the signaling networks that regulate antagonistic relationships between pathogens. Here, we show that the ralstonins, lipopeptides produced by the plant pathogenic bacteria Ralstonia solanacearum, interfere with germination of the plant-pathogenic fungus Aspergillus flavus by down-regulating expression of a cryptic biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC), named imq. Comparative metabolomic analysis of overexpression strains of the transcription factor ImqK revealed imq-dependent production of a family of tripeptide-derived alkaloids, the imizoquins. These alkaloids are produced via a nonribosomal peptide synthetase- (NRPS-)derived tripeptide and contain an unprecedented tricyclic imidazo[2,1-a]isoquinoline ring system. We show that the imizoquins serve a protective role against oxidative stress that is essential for normal A. flavus germination. Supplementation of purified imizoquins restored wildtype germination to a ?imqK A. flavus strain and protected the fungus from ROS damage. Whereas the bacterial ralstonins retarded A. flavus germination and suppressed expression of the imq cluster, the fungal imizoquins in turn suppressed growth of R. solanacearum. We suggest such reciprocal small-molecule-mediated antagonism is a common feature in microbial encounters affecting pathogenicity and survival of the involved species.
Project description:Epigenetic regulation plays a critical role in controlling fungal secondary metabolism. Here, we report the pleiotropic effects of the epigenetic regulator HdaA (histone deacetylase) on secondary metabolite production and the associated biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) expression in the plant endophytic fungus Penicillium chrysogenum Fes1701. Deletion of the hdaA gene in strain Fes1701 induced a significant change of the secondary metabolite profile with the emergence of the bioactive indole alkaloid meleagrin. Simultaneously, more meleagrin/roquefortine-related compounds and less chrysogine were synthesized in the ?hdaA strain. Transcriptional analysis of relevant gene clusters in ?hdaA and wild strains indicated that disruption of hdaA had different effects on the expression levels of two BGCs: the meleagrin/roquefortine BGC was upregulated, while the chrysogine BGC was downregulated. Interestingly, transcriptional analysis demonstrated that different functional genes in the same BGC had different responses to the disruption of hdaA. Thereinto, the roqO gene, which encodes a key catalyzing enzyme in meleagrin biosynthesis, showed the highest upregulation in the ?hdaA strain (84.8-fold). To our knowledge, this is the first report of the upregulation of HdaA inactivation on meleagrin/roquefortine alkaloid production in the endophytic fungus P. chrysogenum. Our results suggest that genetic manipulation based on the epigenetic regulator HdaA is an important strategy for regulating the productions of secondary metabolites and expanding bioactive natural product resources in endophytic fungi.