TitleA metabolomics-guided approach to discover Fusarium graminearum metabolites after removal of a repressive histone modification.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsAdpressa DA, Connolly LR, Konkel ZM, Neuhaus GF, Chang XL, Pierce BR, Smith KM, Freitag M, Loesgen S
JournalFungal Genet Biol
Date Published2019 11

Many secondary metabolites are produced by biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that are repressed during standard growth conditions, which complicates the discovery of novel bioactive compounds. In the genus Fusarium, many BGCs reside in chromatin enriched for trimethylated histone 3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3), a modification correlated with transcriptional gene silencing. Here we report on our progress in assigning metabolites to genes by using a strain lacking the H3K27 methyltransferase, Kmt6. To guide isolation efforts, we coupled genetics to multivariate analysis of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS) data from both wild type and kmt6, which allowed identification of compounds previously unknown from F. graminearum. We found low molecular weight, amino acid-derived metabolites (N-ethyl anthranilic acid, N-phenethylacetamide, N-acetyltryptamine). We identified one new compound, protofusarin, as derived from fusarin biosynthesis. Similarly, we isolated large amounts of fusaristatin A, gibepyrone A, and fusarpyrones A and B, simply by using the kmt6 mutant, instead of having to optimize growth media. To increase the abundance of metabolites underrepresented in wild type, we generated kmt6 fus1 double mutants and discovered tricinolone and tricinolonoic acid, two new sesquiterpenes belonging to the tricindiol class. Our approach allows rapid visualization and analyses of the genetically induced changes in metabolite production, and discovery of new molecules by a combination of chemical and genetic dereplication. Of 22 fungal metabolites identified here, 10 compounds had not been reported from F. graminearum before. We show that activating silent metabolic pathways by mutation of a repressive chromatin modification enzyme can result in the discovery of new chemistry even in a well-studied organism, and helps to connect new or known small molecules to the BGCs responsible for their production.

Alternate JournalFungal Genet. Biol.
PubMed ID31344458