Deletion of the Trichoderma virens NRPS, Tex7, induces accumulation of the anti-cancer compound heptelidic acid
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The anticancer antibiotic heptelidic acid is a sesquiterpene lactone produced by the beneficial plant fungus Trichoderma virens. This species has been separated into two strains, referred to as P and Q, based on its biosynthesis of secondary metabolites; notably, only P-strains were reported to produce heptelidic acid. While characterizing a Q-strain of T. virens containing a directed mutation in the non-ribosomal peptide synthetase encoding gene Tex7, the appearance of an unknown compound in anomalously large quantities was visualized by TLC. Using a combination of HPLC, LC-MS/MS, and NMR spectroscopy, this compound was identified as heptelidic acid. This discovery alters the strain classification structure of T. virens. Additionally, the Tex7 mutants inhibited growth of maize seedlings, while retaining the ability to induce systemic resistance against the foliar fungal pathogen, Cochliobolus heterostrophus.
author list (cited authors)
Taylor, J. T., Mukherjee, P. K., Puckhaber, L. S., Dixit, K., Igumenova, T. I., Suh, C., Horwitz, B. A., & Kenerley, C. M.