Homologous NRPS-like Gene Clusters Mediate Redundant Small-Molecule Biosynthesis in Aspergillus flavus


  • We thank J. A. Baccile, Y. Rokhlenko, and J. A. Bernstein for assistance with synthesis and M. Kukula for help with mass spectrometry. Support from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (GM008500 to R.R.F. and GM084077 to N.P.K.), the International Leibniz Research School Jena (to D.S.), DuPont Corp. (to F.C.S.), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (WIS01200 to N.P.K.), and the Food Research Institute, National Science Foundation subagreement (IOS-0965649 to N.P.K) is gratefully acknowledged.


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Biosynthetic crosstalk: Most gene clusters in fungi are orphans with no known associated metabolites. NMR-based comparative metabolomics was used to identify the products of two highly homologous orphan clusters in Aspergillus flavus. The two clusters encode partially redundant biosynthetic pathways that produce overlapping sets of novel fungal alkaloids, feature NRPS-like genes with unusual functions, and regulate fungal development.