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FEBS Lett. 2012 Jul 30;586(16):2563-9. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2012.06.035. Epub 2012 Jun 29.

Functional analysis of an indole-diterpene gene cluster for lolitrem B biosynthesis in the grass endosymbiont Epichloë festucae.

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Institute of Molecular Biosciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North, New Zealand.


Epichloë festucae Fl1 in association with Lolium perenne synthesizes a diverse range of indole-diterpene bioprotective metabolites, including lolitrem B, a potent tremorgen. The ltm genes responsible for the synthesis of these metabolites are organized in three clusters at a single sub-telomeric locus in the genome of E. festucae. Here we resolve the genetic basis for the remarkable indole-diterpene diversity observed in planta by analyzing products that accumulate in associations containing ltm deletion mutants of E. festucae and in cells of Penicillium paxilli containing copies of these genes under the control of a P. paxilli biosynthetic gene promoter. We propose a biosynthetic scheme to account for this metabolic diversity.

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