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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research

Title: Insights into the evolution of toxin biosynthesis in the fungus Fusarium

item Proctor, Robert
item Van Hove, Francois
item Susca, Antonia
item Stea, Gaetano
item Busman, Mark
item Van Der Lee, Theo
item Waalwijk, Cees
item Moretti, Antonio
item Ward, Todd

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/27/2012
Publication Date: 10/27/2012
Citation: Proctor, R., Van Hove, F., Susca, A., Stea, G., Busman, M., Van Der Lee, T., Waalwijk, C., Moretti, A., Ward, T.J. 2012. Insights into the evolution of toxin biosynthesis in the fungus Fusarium. Meeting Abstract.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Functional characterization of mycotoxin biosynthetic gene clusters has provided insights into genetic bases for variation in production of Fusarium mycotoxins. For example, production of B versus C fumonisin mycotoxins results from sequence variation in the FUM8 gene of the fumonisin biosynthetic gene (FUM) cluster. Variation in cluster sequences within and between species can also provide insight into mechanisms of evolution of clusters and mycotoxin production. Previous analyses of the Fusarium fujikuroi species complex (FFSC) revealed that phylogenetic relationships of FUM cluster sequences are not correlated with phylogenetic relationships of the producing species. Here, we conducted a battery of analyses to elucidate likely causes of this phylogenetic discord. The results indicate that: a) four phylogenetically distinct forms of the FUM cluster exist in FFSC; b) each form is located within a different genomic context; c) only one cluster form exists within a given species; and d) divergence of the FUM clusters predates divergence of the species. The results are consistent with two alternative models of evolution: a) birth-and-death evolution whereby three duplications (birth) of the entire FUM cluster in a common FFSC ancestor was followed by differential loss (death) of the resulting cluster paralogues so that extant species have no or only one cluster paralogue; and b) multiple horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events of the cluster from four relatively closely related donor species to four ancestral lineages within the FFSC. In addition, the data suggest that C-fumonisin biosynthesis evolved from B-fumonisin biosynthesis independently within two closely related FFSC lineages with different forms of the FUM cluster. The results indicate that the evolutionary history of the FUM cluster has been highly complex and provide a genetic explanation(s) for why some FFSC species produce fumonisins and contaminate crops with these mycotoxins while other species do not.

Last Modified: 10/16/2017
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