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Gramillin A and B: Cyclic Lipopeptides Identified as the Nonribosomal Biosynthetic Products of Fusarium graminearum

Bahadoor, A., Brauer, E.K., Bosnich, W., Schneiderman, D., Johnston, A., Aubin, Y., Blackwell, B., Melanson, J.E., Harris, L.J. (2018). Gramillin A and B: Cyclic Lipopeptides Identified as the Nonribosomal Biosynthetic Products of Fusarium graminearum, 140(48), 16783-16791. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.8b10017

Abstract

© 2018 American Chemical Society. The virulence and broad host range of Fusarium graminearum is associated with its ability to secrete an arsenal of phytotoxic secondary metabolites, including the regulated mycotoxins belonging to the deoxynivalenol family. The TRI genes responsible for the biosynthesis of deoxynivalenol and related compounds are usually expressed during fungal infection. However, the F. graminearum genome harbors an array of unexplored biosynthetic gene clusters that are also co-induced with the TRI genes, including the nonribosomal peptide synthetase 8 (NRPS8) gene cluster. Here, we identify two bicyclic lipopeptides, gramillin A (1) and B (2), as the biosynthetic end products of NRPS8. Structural elucidation by high-resolution LC-MS and NMR, including 1 H- 15 N- 13 C HNCO and HNCA on isotopically enriched compounds, revealed that the gramillins possess a fused bicyclic structure with ring closure of the main peptide macrocycle occurring via an anhydride bond. Through targeted gene disruption, we characterized the GRA1 biosynthetic gene and its transcription factor GRA2 in the NRPS8 gene cluster. Further, we show that the gramillins are produced in planta on maize silks, promoting fungal virulence on maize but have no discernible effect on wheat head infection. Leaf infiltration of the gramillins induces cell death in maize, but not in wheat. Our results show that F. graminearum deploys the gramillins as a virulence agent in maize, but not in wheat, thus displaying host-specific adaptation.

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