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Biosynthetic Gene Content of the ‘Perfume Lichens’ Evernia prunastri and Pseudevernia furfuracea

1
Institute of Ecology, Evolution and Diversity, Goethe University Frankfurt, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2
Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (S-BiKF), Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
3
Molecular Biotechnology, Department for Biosciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Molecules 2019, 24(1), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24010203
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 29 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 8 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lichens: Chemistry, Ecological and Biological Activities II)
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Abstract

Lichen-forming fungi produce a vast number of unique natural products with a wide variety of biological activities and human uses. Although lichens have remarkable potential in natural product research and industry, the molecular mechanisms underlying the biosynthesis of lichen metabolites are poorly understood. Here we use genome mining and comparative genomics to assess biosynthetic gene clusters and their putative regulators in the genomes of two lichen-forming fungi, which have substantial commercial value in the perfume industry, Evernia prunastri and Pseudevernia furfuracea. We report a total of 80 biosynthetic gene clusters (polyketide synthases (PKS), non-ribosomal peptide synthetases and terpene synthases) in E. prunastri and 51 in P. furfuracea. We present an in-depth comparison of 11 clusters, which show high homology between the two species. A ketosynthase (KS) phylogeny shows that biosynthetic gene clusters from E. prunastri and P. furfuracea are widespread across the Fungi. The phylogeny includes 15 genomes of lichenized fungi and all fungal PKSs with known functions from the MIBiG database. Phylogenetically closely related KS domains predict not only similar PKS architecture but also similar cluster architecture. Our study highlights the untapped biosynthetic richness of lichen-forming fungi, provides new insights into lichen biosynthetic pathways and facilitates heterologous expression of lichen biosynthetic gene clusters. View Full-Text
Keywords: lichen secondary metabolites; tree moss; oakmoss; biosynthetic gene clusters; polyketide synthases; non-ribosomal peptide synthetases; terpene synthases; transcription factor; phylogeny; comparative genomics lichen secondary metabolites; tree moss; oakmoss; biosynthetic gene clusters; polyketide synthases; non-ribosomal peptide synthetases; terpene synthases; transcription factor; phylogeny; comparative genomics
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Calchera, A.; Dal Grande, F.; Bode, H.B.; Schmitt, I. Biosynthetic Gene Content of the ‘Perfume Lichens’ Evernia prunastri and Pseudevernia furfuracea. Molecules 2019, 24, 203.

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