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The secondary metabolism of Stagonospora nordorum

Krill, C., Solomon, P.S., Oliver, R.P. and Trengove, R.D. (2011) The secondary metabolism of Stagonospora nordorum. In: Seventh International Conference of the Metabolomics Society, 27 - 30 June, Cairns, Qld, Australia.


Secondary metabolites are small molecules that are not directly essential for growth under laboratory conditions. Many of those compounds, however, have a crucial role in the overall fitness of the producing organism in its natural environment. Fungi are renowned for producing a vast number of secondary metabolites, both beneficial (pharmaceuticals such as penicillins or lovastatin) and detrimental (mycotoxins such as the aflatoxins) to human health. The fungal necrotroph Stagonospora nodorum is an important wheat pathogen in Western Australia, accounting for $108M (AUD) of crop loss in Australia each year. The interaction of this fungus with its host plant has been studied extensively at the genome and proteome level, yet very little is known about a possible role of secondary metabolites during its pathogenic life cycle. The ability of the fungus to produce the mycotoxin alternariol has been shown previously. In this study, Liquid Chromatography –Mass Spectrometry is used to gain a comprehensive picture of the secondary metabolites profile of Stagonospora nodorum. Genetics and transcriptomics techniques are used to further elucidate the role of secondary metabolism during pathogenicity. To this date, more than 40 potentially biologically relevant candidate secondary metabolite genes have been identified. Experiments are underway to identify the metabolites associated with these genes. Targeted gene disruption experiments already yielded a minimum number of 20 compounds to differ significantly between the wild type fungus and the knockout mutants.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: Separation Science and Metabolomics Laboratory
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