Functional replacement of the ketosynthase domain of FUM1 for the biosynthesis of fumonisins, a group of fungal reduced polyketides

X. Zhu, F. Yu, R. S. Bojja, K. Zaleta-Rivera, L. Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The genetic manipulation of the biosynthesis of fungal reduced polyketides has been challenging due to the lack of knowledge on the biosynthetic mechanism, the difficulties in the detection of the acyclic, non-aromatic metabolites, and the complexity in genetically manipulating filamentous fungi. Fumonisins are a group of economically important mycotoxins that contaminate maize-based food and feed products worldwide. Fumonisins contain a linear dimethylated C 18 chain that is synthesized by Fum1p, which is a single module polyketide synthase (PKS). Using a genetic system that allows the specific manipulation of PKS domains in filamentous fungus Fusarium verticillioides, we replaced the KS domain of fumonisin FUM1 with the KS domain of T-toxin PKS1 from Cochliobolus heterostrophus. Although PKS1 synthesizes different polyketides, the F. verticillioides strain carrying the chimeric PKS produced fumonisins. This represents the first successful domain swapping in PKSs for fungal reduced polyketides and suggests that KS domain alone may not be sufficient to control the product's structure. To further test if the whole fumonisin PKS could be functionally replaced by a PKS that has a similar domain architecture, we replaced entire FUM1 with PKS1. This strain did not produce any fumonisin or new metabolites, suggesting that the intrinsic interactions between the intact PKS and downstream enzymes in the biosynthetic pathway may play a role in the control of fungal reduced polyketides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)859-868
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006


  • Biosynthesis
  • Fumonisin
  • Fusarium verticillioides
  • Polyketide synthase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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