Two novel classes of enzymes are required for the biosynthesis of aurofusarin in Fusarium graminearum.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Previous studies have reported the functional characterization of nine out of eleven genes found in the gene cluster responsible for biosynthesis of the polyketide pigment aurofusarin in Fusarium graminearum. Here we reanalyse the function of a putative aurofusarin pump (AurT) and the two remaining orphan genes, aurZ and aurS. Targeted gene replacement of aurZ resulted in the discovery that the compound YWA1, rather than nor-rubrofusarin, is the primary product of F. graminearum polyketide synthase 12 (FgPKS12). AurZ is the first representative of a novel class of dehydratases that act on hydroxylated γ-pyrones. Replacement of the aurS gene resulted in accumulation of rubrofusarin, an intermediate that also accumulates when the GIP1, aurF or aurO genes in the aurofusarin cluster are deleted. Based on the shared phenotype and predicted subcellular localization we propose that AurS is a member of an extracellular enzyme complex (GIP1-AurF-AurO-AurS) responsible for converting rubrofusarin into aurofusarin. This implies that rubrofusarin, rather than aurofusarin, is pumped across the plasma membrane. Replacement of the putative aurofusarin pump aurT increased rubrofusarin to aurofusarin ratio, supporting that rubrofusarin is normally pumped across the plasma membrane. These results provide functional information on two novel classes of proteins and their contribution to polyketide pigment biosynthesis.


  • Rasmus J N Frandsen
  • Claes Schutt
  • Birgitte W Lund
  • Dan Staerk
  • John Nielsen
  • Stefan Olsson Hau
  • Henriette Giese
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Early online date2011 Feb 4
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch