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The economically important necrotrophic fungal pathogen, Pyrenophora tritici-repentis (Ptr), causes tan spot of wheat, a disease typified by foliar necrosis and chlorosis. The culture filtrate of an Australian Ptr isolate, M4, possesses phytotoxic activity and plant bioassay guided discovery led to the purification of necrosis inducing toxins called triticone A and B. High-resolution LC–MS/MS analysis of the culture filtrate identified an additional 37 triticone-like compounds. The biosynthetic gene cluster responsible for triticone production (the Ttc cluster) was identified and deletion of TtcA, a hybrid polyketide synthase (PKS)-nonribosomal peptide synthase (NRPS), abolished production of all triticones. The pathogenicity of mutant (ttcA) strains was not visibly affected in our assays. We hypothesize that triticones possess general antimicrobial activity important for competition in multi-microbial environments.
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