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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2014 Oct;98(20):8443-55. doi: 10.1007/s00253-014-5997-8. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

Manipulation of fungal development as source of novel secondary metabolites for biotechnology.

Author information

1
Institut für Mikrobiologie & Genetik, Georg-August-Universität, Grisebachstr. 8, D-37077, Göttingen, Germany.

Abstract

Fungal genomics revealed a large potential of yet-unexplored secondary metabolites, which are not produced during vegetative growth. The discovery of novel bioactive compounds is increasingly gaining importance. The high number of resistances against established antibiotics requires novel drugs to counteract increasing human and animal mortality rates. In addition, growth of plant pathogens has to be controlled to minimize harvest losses. An additional critical issue is the post-harvest production of deleterious mycotoxins. Fungal development and secondary metabolite production are linked processes. Therefore, molecular regulators of development might be suitable to discover new bioactive fungal molecules or to serve as targets to control fungal growth, development, or secondary metabolite production. The fungal impact is relevant as well for our healthcare systems as for agriculture. We propose here to use the knowledge about mutant strains discovered in fungal model systems for a broader application to detect and explore new fungal drugs or toxins. As examples, mutant strains impaired in two conserved eukaryotic regulatory complexes are discussed. The COP9 signalosome (CSN) and the velvet complex act at the interface between development and secondary metabolism. The CSN is a multi-protein complex of up to eight subunits and controls the activation of CULLIN-RING E3 ubiquitin ligases, which mark substrates with ubiquitin chains for protein degradation by the proteasome. The nuclear velvet complex consists of the velvet-domain proteins VeA and VelB and the putative methyltransferase LaeA acting as a global regulator for secondary metabolism. Defects in both complexes disturb fungal development, light perception, and the control of secondary metabolism. The potential biotechnological relevance of these developmental fungal mutant strains for drug discovery, agriculture, food safety, and human healthcare is discussed.

PMID:
25142695
PMCID:
PMC4192562
DOI:
10.1007/s00253-014-5997-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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