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Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1431-1456; doi:10.3390/toxins7051431

Links between Genetic Groups, Indole Alkaloid Profiles and Ecology within the Grass-Parasitic Claviceps purpurea Species Complex

1
Norwegian Veterinary Institute, P.O. Box 750 Sentrum, 0106 Oslo, Norway
2
Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
3
Department of the Chemical and Biological Working Environment, National Institute of Occupational Health, P.O. Box 8149 Dep, 0033 Oslo, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Christopher L. Schardl
Received: 3 January 2015 / Revised: 21 April 2015 / Accepted: 22 April 2015 / Published: 28 April 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ergot Alkaloids: Chemistry, Biology and Toxicology)
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Abstract

The grass parasitic fungus Claviceps purpurea sensu lato produces sclerotia with toxic indole alkaloids. It constitutes several genetic groups with divergent habitat preferences that recently were delimited into separate proposed species. We aimed to 1) analyze genetic variation of C. purpurea sensu lato in Norway, 2) characterize the associated indole alkaloid profiles, and 3) explore relationships between genetics, alkaloid chemistry and ecology. Approximately 600 sclerotia from 14 different grass species were subjected to various analyses including DNA sequencing and HPLC-MS. Molecular results, supported by chemical and ecological data, revealed one new genetic group (G4) in addition to two of the three known; G1 (C. purpurea sensu stricto) and G2 (C. humidiphila). G3 (C. spartinae) was not found. G4, which was apparently con-specific with the recently described C. arundinis sp. nov, was predominantly found in very wet habitats on Molinia caerulea and infrequently in saline habitats on Leymus arenarius. Its indole-diterpene profile resembled G2, while its ergot alkaloid profile differed from G2 in high amounts of ergosedmam. In contrast to G1, indole-diterpenes were consistently present in G2 and G4. Our study supports and complements the newly proposed species delimitation of the C. purpurea complex, but challenges some species characteristics including host spectrum, habitat preferences and sclerotial floating ability. View Full-Text
Keywords: ergot fungus; ergot alkaloids; indole-diterpenes; nuclear rDNA; β-tubulin gene; haplotype network; speciation ergot fungus; ergot alkaloids; indole-diterpenes; nuclear rDNA; β-tubulin gene; haplotype network; speciation
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Negård, M.; Uhlig, S.; Kauserud, H.; Andersen, T.; Høiland, K.; Vrålstad, T. Links between Genetic Groups, Indole Alkaloid Profiles and Ecology within the Grass-Parasitic Claviceps purpurea Species Complex. Toxins 2015, 7, 1431-1456.

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