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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Fusarium Verticillioides, Fumonisins and Expressed Sequence Tags: a Genomic Approach Aimed at Solving a Mycotoxin Problem in Maize

item Proctor, Robert
item Brown, Daren
item Butchko, Robert
item Whitelaw, Catherine - TIGR, ROCKVILLE, MD
item Zheng, Li - TIGR, ROCKVILLE, MD
item Kendra, David
item Desjardins, Anne
item Plattner, Ronald - FORMER ARS, PEORIA, IL

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 14, 2003
Publication Date: November 14, 2003
Citation: Proctor, R., Brown, D.W., Butchko, R.A., Whitelaw, C.A., Zheng, L., Kendra, D.F., Desjardins, A.E., Plattner, R.D. 2003. Fusarium verticillioides, fumonisins and expressed sequence tags: a genomic approach aimed at solving a mycotoxin problem in maize. Meeting Abstract.

Technical Abstract: Fusarium verticillioides (synonym F. moniliforme, teleomorph G. moniliformis) is one of the most prevalent causal agents of ear and stalk rot of maize and frequently colonizes maize tissues without causing disease symptoms. This fungus also produces fumonisins, a family of polyketide-derived mycotoxins associated with several fatal animal diseases, including kidney and liver cancer in laboratory rodents. In addition, the consumption of fumonisin-contaminated maize has been epidemiologically correlated with human esophageal cancer in some regions of the world where maize is a dietary staple. Fumonisins are structurally similar to the sphingolipid intermediates sphinganine and sphingosine, and they disrupt sphingolipid metabolism by inhibiting the enzyme ceramide synthase (sphinganine N-acyltransferase). A causal relationship between the disruption of sphingolipid metabolism and fumonisin-associated diseases has not been established but such a relationship seems likely given the roles of sphingolipids in cellular metabolism and differentiation. The widespread association of maize and F. verticillioides results in frequent contamination of maize kernels with fumonisins. B-series fumonisins (FB1, FB2, FB3, and FB4) are generally the most abundant fumonisins in naturally contaminated maize. They consist of a linear 20-carbon backbone that is substituted at various positions with an amine, one to three hydroxyl, two methyl, and two tricarboxyllic acid functions. The goal of the fumonisin research group at USDA ARS NCAUR is to reduce or eliminate the presence of fumonisins in maize and to limit crop losses due to ear and stock rot caused by F. verticillioides. To this end, we have taken a biochemical, genetic, and more recently a genomic approach to study fumonisin biosynthesis and the interaction of maize and F. verticillioides.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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