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Phytochemistry. 2005 Jun;66(11):1312-20.

The ergot alkaloid gene cluster in Claviceps purpurea: extension of the cluster sequence and intra species evolution.

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Institut für Botanik, Westf. Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Schlossgarten 3, D-48149 Münster, Germany.


The genomic region of Claviceps purpurea strain P1 containing the ergot alkaloid gene cluster [Tudzynski, P., Hölter, K., Correia, T., Arntz, C., Grammel, N., Keller, U., 1999. Evidence for an ergot alkaloid gene cluster in Claviceps purpurea. Mol. Gen. Genet. 261, 133-141] was explored by chromosome walking, and additional genes probably involved in the ergot alkaloid biosynthesis have been identified. The putative cluster sequence (extending over 68.5kb) contains 4 different nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) genes and several putative oxidases. Northern analysis showed that most of the genes were co-regulated (repressed by high phosphate), and identified probable flanking genes by lack of co-regulation. Comparison of the cluster sequences of strain P1, an ergotamine producer, with that of strain ECC93, an ergocristine producer, showed high conservation of most of the cluster genes, but significant variation in the NRPS modules, strongly suggesting that evolution of these chemical races of C. purpurea is determined by evolution of NRPS module specificity.

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