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Molecular and functional evolution of the fungal diterpene synthase genes

Abstract : BackgroundTerpenes represent one of the largest and most diversified families of natural compounds and are used in numerous industrial applications. Terpene synthase (TPS) genes originated in bacteria as diterpene synthase (di-TPS) genes. They are also found in plant and fungal genomes. The recent availability of a large number of fungal genomes represents an opportunity to investigate how genes involved in diterpene synthesis were acquired by fungi, and to assess the consequences of this process on the fungal metabolism.ResultsIn order to investigate the origin of fungal di-TPS, we implemented a search for potential fungal di-TPS genes and identified their presence in several unrelated Ascomycota and Basidiomycota species. The fungal di-TPS phylogenetic tree is function-related but is not associated with the phylogeny based on housekeeping genes. The lack of agreement between fungal and di-TPS-based phylogenies suggests the presence of Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGTs) events. Further evidence for HGT was provided by conservation of synteny of di-TPS and neighbouring genes in distantly related fungi.ConclusionsThe results obtained here suggest that fungal di-TPSs originated from an ancient HGT event of a single di-TPS gene from a plant to a fungus in Ascomycota. In fungi, these di-TPSs allowed for the formation of clusters consisting in di-TPS, GGPPS and P450 genes to create functional clusters that were transferred between fungal species, producing diterpenes acting as hormones or toxins, thus affecting fungal development and pathogenicity.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - 1:43:02 PM
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Marc Fischer, Camille Rustenhloz, Véronique Leh-Louis, Guy Perrière. Molecular and functional evolution of the fungal diterpene synthase genes. BMC Microbiology, BioMed Central, 2015, 15 (1), pp.221. ⟨10.1186/s12866-015-0564-8⟩. ⟨hal-01223553⟩

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