Project Part: Genetic dissection of Fusarium secondary metabolite production and virulence
The genome sequence of F. graminearum revealed the capacity of this fungus to produce many secondary metabolites in addition to the classical mycotoxins deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZON). Most of the products of the predicted 15 PKSs, 20 NRPSs and 17 terpenoid synthases are unknown. The short term goal of this project part is to complete previous work on the function of DON in the host plant, and plant resistance mechanisms against this substance. In the long run we plan to exploit the genome information to identify new metabolites and elucidate the mode of action of new metabolites, and of known metabolites with largely unknown function in plants (e.g. ZON). Several candidate NRPS and PKS genes are expressed only in planta. We plan to generate combinations of different gene disruptions using the Cre-lox system, to elucidate the (redundant) virulence function of candidate genes.
Project Part Leader: Ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Gerhard Adam
Figure below: The disruption of the gene PPT1 ecoding an enzyme needed for posttranslational activation of PKSs and NPSs leads to a loss of multiple metabolites (including the red pigment rubrofusarin).