Secondary metabolite gene clusters from the phytopathogenic fungus Gaeumannomyces tritici

Felipe Geremia, Igor Paim, Matheus da Silva Camargo, Augusto Schrank, Nicolau Sbaraini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The take-all disease is one of the most important maladies in cereals and grasses, being caused by the fungus Gaeumannomyces tritici. Secondary metabolites are known to perform critical functions during the infection process of various phytopathogens. However, the current understanding of the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites in G. tritici is limited. Similarly, comprehensive analyses of the expression, conservation, and evolution of these biosynthesis-related genes are crucial for enhancing our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that drive the development of the take-all disease. Here we have performed a deep survey and description of secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters in G. tritici, analyzed a previously published RNA-seq of a mimicked infection condition, and assessed the conservation among 10 different Magnaporthales order members. Notably, the majority of the 35 putative gene clusters identified were conserved among these species, with GtPKS1, GtPKS3, and GtTERP4 uniquely identified in G. tritici. In the mimicked infection condition, seven gene clusters, including the GtPKS1 cluster, exhibited upregulated expression. Through comparative genomic analysis, GtPKS1 was associated with the production of dichlorodiaporthin, a metabolite with cytotoxic and antifungal activity. In addition, GtPKS10 and GtPKSNRPS3 showed similarities to already characterized biosynthetic pathways involved in the synthesis of ACR-toxin (phytotoxic) and trichosetin (phytotoxic and antibiotic), respectively. These three gene clusters were further scrutinized through phylogenetic inference, which revealed the distribution of orthologous sequences across various plant-associated fungi. Finally, the detailed identification of several genes enrolled in secondary metabolite biosynthesis provides the foundation for future in-depth research, supporting the potential impact of several small molecules on G. tritici lifecycle and host interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-669
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Plant Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Mar 2024


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