Malonek S, Bomke C, Bornberg-Bauer E, Rojas MC, Hedden P, Hopkins P, Tudzynski B
Distribution of gibberellin biosynthetic genes and gibberellin production in the Gibberella fujikuroi species complex
Phytochemistry, 66(11):1296-1311, 2005

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Gibberella fujikuroi is a species-rich monophyletic complex of at least nine sexually fertile biological species (mating populations, MP-A to MP-I) and more than 30 anamorphs in the genus Fusarium. They produce a variety of secondary metabolites, such as fumonisins, fusaproliferin, moniliformin, beauvericin, fusaric acid, and gibberellins (GAs), a group of plant hormones. In this study, we examined for the first time all nine sexually fertile species (MPs) and additional anamorphs within and outside the G. fujikuroi species complex for the presence of GA biosynthetic genes. So far, the ability to produce GAs was described only for Fusarium fujikuroi (G. fujikuroi MP-C), which contains seven clustered genes in the genome all participating in GA biosynthesis. We show that six other MPs (MPs B, D, E, F, G, and I) and most of the anamorphs within the species complex also contain the entire gene cluster, except for F. verticillioides (MP-A), and F. circinatum (MP-H), containing only parts of it. Despite the presence of the entire gene cluster in most of the species within the G. fujikuroi species complex, expression of GA biosynthetic genes and GA production were detected only in F. fujikuroi (MP-C) and one isolate of F. konzum (MP-I). We used two new molecular marker genes, P450-4 from the GA gene cluster, and cpr, encoding the highly conserved NADPH cytochrome P450 reductase to study phylogenetic relationships within the G. fujikuroi species complex. The molecular phylogenetic studies for both genes have revealed good agreement with phylogenetic trees inferred from other genes. Furthermore, we discuss the role and evolutionary origin of the GA biosynthetic gene cluster.