Characterization of the biosynthetic gene cluster for the ribosomally synthesized cyclic peptide ustiloxin B in Aspergillus flavus
Fungal Genetics and Biology
Ustiloxin B is a secondary metabolite known to be produced by Ustilaginoidea virens. In our previous paper, we observed the production of this compound by Aspergillus flavus, and identified two A. flavus genes responsible for ustiloxin B biosynthesis (Umemura et al., 2013) . The compound is a cyclic tetrapeptide of Tyr-Ala-Ile-Gly, whose tyrosine is modified with a non-protein coding amino acid, norvaline. Although its chemical structure strongly suggested that ustiloxin B is biosynthesized by
... non-ribosomal peptide synthetase, in the present study, we observed its synthesis through a ribosomal peptide synthetic (RiPS) pathway by precise sequence analyses after experimental validation of the cluster. The cluster possessed a gene (AFLA_094980), termed ustA, whose translated product, UstA, contains a 16-fold repeated peptide embedding a tetrapeptide, Tyr-Ala-Ile-Gly, that is converted into the cyclic moiety of ustiloxin B. This result strongly suggests that ustiloxin B is biosynthesized through a RiPS pathway and that UstA provides the precursor peptide of the compound. The present work is the first characterization of RiPS in Ascomycetes and the entire RiPS gene cluster in fungi. Based on the sequence analyses, we also proposed a biosynthetic mechanism involving the entire gene cluster. Our finding indicates the possibility that a number of unidentified RiPSs exist in Ascomycetes as the biosynthetic genes of secondary metabolites, and that the feature of a highly repeated peptide sequence in UstA will greatly contribute to the discovery of additional RiPS.