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Microorganisms 2014, 2(2), 111-127; doi:10.3390/microorganisms2020111

Butyrolactone I Quantification from Lovastatin Producing Aspergillus terreus Using Tandem Mass Spectrometry—Evidence of Signalling Functions

1
Biochemistry, Department of Biosciences, Åbo Akademi University, Artillerigatan 6, Åbo FI-20520, Finland
2
Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, Artillerigatan 6, Åbo FI-20520, Finland
3
School of Life Sciences, University of Westminster, London W1W 6UW, UK
4
Faculty of Life Sciences and Business, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Lemminkäinengatan 30, Åbo FI-20520, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 January 2014 / Revised: 23 April 2014 / Accepted: 6 May 2014 / Published: 4 June 2014
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Abstract

Aspergillus terreus is an industrially important filamentous fungus producing a wide spectrum of secondary metabolites, including lovastatin and itaconic acid. It also produces butyrolactone I which has shown potential as an antitumour agent. Additionally, butyrolactone I has been implicated to have a regulating role in the secondary metabolism and morphology of A. terreus. In this study, a quantitative time-course liquid chromatography—electrospray ionisation—tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS-MS) analysis of butyrolactone I is reported for the first time in nine-day long submerged cultures of A. terreus. Butyrolactone I was fragmented in the mass analysis producing a reproducible fragmentation pattern of four main daughter ions (m/z 307, 331, 363 and 393) in all the samples tested. Supplementing the cultures with 100 nM butyrolactone I caused a statistically significant increase (up to two-fold) in its production, regardless of the growth stage but was constitutive when butyrolactone I was added at high cell density during the stationary phase. Furthermore, the extracellular butyrolactone I concentration peaked at 48 h post inoculation, showing a similar profile as has been reported for bacterial quorum sensing molecules. Taken together, the results support the idea of butyrolactone I as a quorum sensing molecule in A. terreus.
Keywords: Aspergillus terreus; butyrolactone I; secondary metabolism; signalling; quorum sensing; HPLC; LC-ESI-MS-MS Aspergillus terreus; butyrolactone I; secondary metabolism; signalling; quorum sensing; HPLC; LC-ESI-MS-MS
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MDPI and ACS Style

Palonen, E.K.; Neffling, M.-R.; Raina, S.; Brandt, A.; Keshavarz, T.; Meriluoto, J.; Soini, J. Butyrolactone I Quantification from Lovastatin Producing Aspergillus terreus Using Tandem Mass Spectrometry—Evidence of Signalling Functions. Microorganisms 2014, 2, 111-127.

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