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Toxins 2013, 5(2), 445-455; doi:10.3390/toxins5020445
Article

Partial Reconstruction of the Ergot Alkaloid Pathway by Heterologous Gene Expression in Aspergillus nidulans

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Received: 23 January 2013; in revised form: 8 February 2013 / Accepted: 17 February 2013 / Published: 22 February 2013
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Abstract: Ergot alkaloids are pharmaceutically and agriculturally important secondary metabolites produced by several species of fungi. Ergot alkaloid pathways vary among different fungal lineages, but the pathway intermediate chanoclavine-I is evolutionarily conserved among ergot alkaloid producers. At least four genes, dmaW, easF, easE, and easC, are necessary for pathway steps prior to chanoclavine-I; however, the sufficiency of these genes for chanoclavine-I synthesis has not been established. A fragment of genomic DNA containing dmaW, easF, easE, and easC was amplified from the human-pathogenic, ergot alkaloid-producing fungus Aspergillus fumigatus and transformed into Aspergillus nidulans, a model fungus that does not contain any of the ergot alkaloid synthesis genes. HPLC and LC-MS analyses demonstrated that transformed A. nidulans strains produced chanoclavine-I and an earlier pathway intermediate. Aspergillus nidulans transformants containing dmaW, easF, and either easE or easC did not produce chanoclavine-I but did produce an early pathway intermediate and, in the case of the easC transformant, an additional ergot alkaloid-like compound. We conclude that dmaW, easF, easE, and easC are sufficient for the synthesis of chanoclavine-I in A. nidulans and expressing ergot alkaloid pathway genes in A. nidulans provides a novel approach to understanding the early steps in ergot alkaloid synthesis.
Keywords: ergot alkaloids; mycotoxins; Aspergillus fumigatus; gene cluster; chanoclavine-I ergot alkaloids; mycotoxins; Aspergillus fumigatus; gene cluster; chanoclavine-I
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ryan, K.L.; Moore, C.T.; Panaccione, D.G. Partial Reconstruction of the Ergot Alkaloid Pathway by Heterologous Gene Expression in Aspergillus nidulans. Toxins 2013, 5, 445-455.

AMA Style

Ryan KL, Moore CT, Panaccione DG. Partial Reconstruction of the Ergot Alkaloid Pathway by Heterologous Gene Expression in Aspergillus nidulans. Toxins. 2013; 5(2):445-455.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ryan, Katy L.; Moore, Christopher T.; Panaccione, Daniel G. 2013. "Partial Reconstruction of the Ergot Alkaloid Pathway by Heterologous Gene Expression in Aspergillus nidulans." Toxins 5, no. 2: 445-455.



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