Project description:Epoxyjanthitrems I-IV (1-4) and epoxyjanthitriol (5) were isolated from seed of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) infected with the endophytic fungus Epichloë festucae var. lolii. Although structures for epoxyjanthitrems I-IV have previously been proposed in the literature, this is the first report of a full structural elucidation yielding NMR (Nuclear magnetic resonance) assignments for all five epoxyjanthitrem compounds, and additionally, it is the first isolation of epoxyjanthitriol (5). Epoxyjanthitrem I induced tremors in mice and gave a dose dependent reduction in weight gain and feeding for porina (Wiseana cervinata), a common pasture pest in New Zealand. These data suggest that epoxyjanthitrems are involved in the observed effects of the AR37 endophyte on livestock and insect pests.
Project description:The most potent of the indole diterpenes, lolitrem B, is found in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) infected with the endophyte Epichloë festucae var. lolii (also termed LpTG-1). Ingestion causes a neurological syndrome in grazing livestock called ryegrass staggers disease. To enable the rapid development of new forage varieties, the toxicity of lolitrem B and its biosynthetic intermediates needs to be established. However, most of these indole diterpenes are not commercially available; thus, isolation of these compounds is paramount. A concentrated endophyte-infected perennial ryegrass seed extract was subjected to silica flash chromatography followed by preparative HPLC and purification by crystallization resulting in lolitrem B and the intermediate compounds lolitrem E, paspaline and terpendole B. The four-step isolation and purification method resulted in a 25% yield of lolitrem B. After isolation, lolitrem B readily degraded to its biosynthetic intermediate, lolitriol. We also found that lolitrem B can readily degrade depending on the solvent and storage conditions. The facile method which takes into consideration the associated instability of lolitrem B, led to the purification of indole diterpenes in quantities sufficient for use as analytical standards for identification in pastures, and/or for toxicity testing in pasture development programs.
Project description:We have identified from the mutualistic grass endophyte Epichloë festucae a non-ribosomal peptide synthetase gene (sidN) encoding a siderophore synthetase. The enzymatic product of SidN is shown to be a novel extracellular siderophore designated as epichloënin A, related to ferrirubin from the ferrichrome family. Targeted gene disruption of sidN eliminated biosynthesis of epichloënin A in vitro and in planta. During iron-depleted axenic growth, ?sidN mutants accumulated the pathway intermediate N(5)-trans-anhydromevalonyl-N(5)-hydroxyornithine (trans-AMHO), displayed sensitivity to oxidative stress and showed deficiencies in both polarized hyphal growth and sporulation. Infection of Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass) with ?sidN mutants resulted in perturbations of the endophyte-grass symbioses. Deviations from the characteristic tightly regulated synchronous growth of the fungus with its plant partner were observed and infected plants were stunted. Analysis of these plants by light and transmission electron microscopy revealed abnormalities in the distribution and localization of ?sidN mutant hyphae as well as deformities in hyphal ultrastructure. We hypothesize that lack of epichloënin A alters iron homeostasis of the symbiotum, changing it from mutually beneficial to antagonistic. Iron itself or epichloënin A may serve as an important molecular/cellular signal for controlling fungal growth and hence the symbiotic interaction.
Project description:In both Sordaria macrospora and Neurospora crassa, components of the conserved STRIPAK (striatin-interacting phosphatase and kinase) complex regulate cell-cell fusion, hyphal network development and fruiting body formation. Interestingly, a number of Epichloë festucae genes that are required for hyphal cell-cell fusion, such as noxA, noxR, proA, mpkA and mkkA, are also required for the establishment of a mutualistic symbiotic interaction with Lolium perenne. To determine whether MobC, a homologue of the STRIPAK complex component MOB3 in S. macrospora and N. crassa, is required for E. festucae hyphal fusion and symbiosis, a mobC deletion strain was generated. The ?mobC mutant showed reduced rates of hyphal cell-cell fusion, formed intrahyphal hyphae and exhibited enhanced conidiation. Plants infected with ?mobC were severely stunted. Hyphae of ?mobC showed a proliferative pattern of growth within the leaves of Lolium perenne with increased colonization of the intercellular spaces and vascular bundles. Although hyphae were still able to form expressoria, structures allowing the colonization of the leaf surface, the frequency of formation was significantly reduced. Collectively, these results show that the STRIPAK component MobC is required for the establishment of a mutualistic symbiotic association between E. festucae and L. perenne, and plays an accessory role in the regulation of hyphal cell-cell fusion and expressorium development in E. festucae.
Project description:<i>Epichloë</i> endophytes are filamentous fungi (family Clavicipitaceae) that live in symbiotic associations with grasses in the sub family Poöideae. In New Zealand, <i>E. festucae</i> var. <i>lolii</i> confers significant resistance to perennial ryegrass (<i>Lolium perenne</i>) against insect and animal herbivory and is an essential component of pastoral agriculture, where ryegrass is a major forage species. The fungus produces in planta a range of bioactive secondary metabolites, including ergovaline, which has demonstrated bioactivity against the important pasture pest black beetle, but can also cause mammalian toxicosis. We genetically modified <i>E. festucae</i> var. <i>lolii</i> strain AR5 to eliminate key enzymatic steps in the ergovaline pathway to determine if intermediate ergot alkaloid compounds can still provide insecticidal benefits in the absence of the toxic end product ergovaline. Four genes (<i>dmaW</i>, <i>easG</i>, <i>cloA</i>, and <i>lpsB</i>) spanning the pathway were deleted and each deletion mutant was inoculated into five different plant genotypes of perennial ryegrass, which were later harvested for a full chemical analysis of the ergot alkaloid compounds produced. These associations were also used in a black beetle feeding deterrence study. Deterrence was seen with just chanoclavine present, but was cumulative as more intermediate compounds in the pathway were made available. Ergovaline was not detected in any of the deletion associations, indicating that bioactivity towards black beetle can be obtained in the absence of this mammalian toxin.
Project description:We report on the whole-genome sequence of Paenibacillus sp. strain E222, a bacterium isolated from a fresh culture of Epichloë festucae var. lolii, a mutualistic fungal endophyte of perennial ryegrass. The genome has a size of 7.8?Mb and a G+C content of 46% and encodes 6,796 putative protein-coding genes.
Project description:Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) is one of the most important species for temperate pastoral agriculture, forming associations with genetically diverse groups of mutualistic fungal endophytes. However, only two taxonomic groups (E. festucae var. lolii and LpTG-2) have so far been described. In addition to these two well-characterised taxa, a third distinct group of previously unclassified perennial ryegrass-associated endophytes was identified as belonging to a putative novel taxon (or taxa) (PNT) in a previous analysis based on simple sequence repeat (SSR) marker diversity. As well as genotypic differences, distinctive alkaloid production profiles were observed for members of the PNT group.A detailed phylogenetic analysis of perennial ryegrass-associated endophytes using components of whole genome sequence data was performed using complete sequences of 7 nuclear protein-encoding genes. Three independently selected genes (encoding a DEAD/DEAH box helicase [Sbp4], a glycosyl hydrolase [family 92 protein] and a MEAB protein), none of which have been previously used for taxonomic studies of endophytes, were selected together with the frequently used 'house-keeping' genes tefA and tubB (encoding translation elongation factor 1-? and ?-tubulin, respectively). In addition, an endophyte-specific gene (perA for peramine biosynthesis) and the fungal-specific MT genes for mating-type control were included. The results supported previous phylogenomic inferences for the known species, but revealed distinctive patterns of diversity for the previously unclassified endophyte strains, which were further proposed to belong to not one but two distinct novel taxa. Potential progenitor genomes for the asexual endophytes among contemporary teleomorphic (sexual Epichloë) species were also identified from the phylogenetic analysis.Unique taxonomic status for the PNT was confirmed through comparison of multiple nuclear gene sequences, and also supported by evidence from chemotypic diversity. Analysis of MT gene idiomorphs further supported a predicted independent origin of two distinct perennial ryegrass-associated novel taxa, designated LpTG-3 and LpTG-4, from different members of a similar founder population related to contemporary E. festucae. The analysis also provided higher resolution to the known progenitor contributions of previously characterised perennial ryegrass-associated endophyte taxa.
Project description:Epichloë festucae is an endophytic fungus that forms a mutualistic symbiotic association with the grass host Lolium perenne. Endophytic hyphae exit the host by an appressorium-like structure known as an expressorium. In plant-pathogenic fungi, the tetraspanin Pls1 and the NADPH oxidase component Nox2 are required for appressorium development. Previously we showed that the homologue of Nox2, NoxB, is required for E. festucae expressorium development and establishment of a mutualistic symbiotic interaction with the grass host. Here we used a reverse genetics approach to functionally characterize the role of the E. festucae homologue of Pls1, PlsA. The morphology and growth of ?plsA in axenic culture was comparable to wild-type. The tiller length of plants infected with ?plsA was significantly reduced. Hyphae of ?plsA had a proliferative pattern of growth within the leaves of L. perenne with increased colonization of the intercellular spaces and the vascular bundles. The ?plsA mutant was also defective in expressorium development although the phenotype was not as severe as for ?noxB, highlighting potentially distinct roles for PlsA and NoxB in signalling through the NoxB complex. Hyphae of ?plsA proliferate below the cuticle surface but still occasionally form an expressorium-like structure that enables the mutant hyphae to exit the leaf to grow on the surface. These expressoria still form a septin ring-like structure at the point of cuticle exit as found in the wild-type strain. These results establish that E. festucae PlsA has an important, but distinct, role to NoxB in expressorium development and plant symbiosis.
Project description:Seed-borne fungal symbionts (endophytes) provide many cool-season grass species with biological protection from biotic and abiotic stresses. The endophytes are asexual, whereas closely related sexual species of genus Epichloë (Clavicipitales) cause grass choke disease. Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is a host of two endophyte taxa, LpTG-1 (L. perenne endophyte taxonomic grouping one = Acremonium lolii) and LpTG-2, as well as the choke pathogen, Epichloë typhina (represented by isolate E8). Relationships among these fungi and other Epichloë species were investigated by analysis of gene sequences, DNA polymorphisms and allozymes. The results indicate that LpTG-2 is a heteroploid derived from an interspecific hybrid. The LpTG-2 isolates had two copies each of nine out of ten genes analyzed (the exception being the rRNA gene locus), and the profiles for seven of these were composites of those from E. typhina E8 and A. lolii isolate Lp5. Molecular phylogenetic analysis grouped the two beta-tubulin genes of LpTG-2 into separate clades. One (tub2-1) was related to that of E. typhina E8, and the other (tub2-2) to that of A. lolii. The mitochondrial DNA profile of LpTG-2 was similar to that of A. lolii, but its rRNA gene sequence grouped it with E. typhina E8. A proposed model for the evolution of LpTG-2 involves infection of a L. perenne-A. lolii symbiotum by E. typhina, followed by hybridization of the two fungi. Such interspecific hybridization may be a common and important mechanism for genetic variation in Epichloë endophytes.
Project description:Epichloë festucae is an endophytic fungus that forms a symbiotic association with Lolium perenne. Here we analysed how the metabolome of the ryegrass apoplast changed upon infection of this host with sexual and asexual isolates of E. festucae. A metabolite fingerprinting approach was used to analyse the metabolite composition of apoplastic wash fluid from uninfected and infected L. perenne. Metabolites enriched or depleted in one or both of these treatments were identified using a set of interactive tools. A genetic approach in combination with tandem MS was used to identify a novel product of a secondary metabolite gene cluster. Metabolites likely to be present in the apoplast were identified using MarVis in combination with the BioCyc and KEGG databases, and an in-house Epichloë metabolite database. We were able to identify the known endophyte-specific metabolites, peramine and epichloëcyclins, as well as a large number of unknown markers. To determine whether these methods can be applied to the identification of novel Epichloë-derived metabolites, we deleted a gene encoding a NRPS (lgsA) that is highly expressed in planta. Comparative MS analysis of apoplastic wash fluid from wild-type- vs mutant-infected plants identified a novel Leu/Ile glycoside metabolite present in the former.