The fungal gene cluster for biosynthesis of the antibacterial agent viriditoxin

Andrew S. Urquhart, Jinyu Hu, Yit-Heng Chooi*, Alexander Idnurm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Viriditoxin is one of the ‘classical’ secondary metabolites produced by fungi and that has antibacterial and other activities; however, the mechanism of its biosynthesis has remained unknown.

Results: Here, a gene cluster (vdt) responsible for viriditoxin synthesis was identified, via a bioinformatics analysis of the genomes of Paecilomyces variotii and Aspergillus viridinutans that both are viriditoxin producers. The function of the eight-membered gene cluster of P. variotii was characterized by targeted gene disruptions, revealing the roles of each gene in the synthesis of this molecule and establishing its biosynthetic pathway, which includes a Baeyer–Villiger monooxygenase catalyzed reaction. Additionally, a predicted catalytically-inactive hydrolase was identified as being required for the stereoselective biosynthesis of (M)-viriditoxin. The subcellular localizations of two proteins (VdtA and VdtG) were determined by fusing these proteins to green fluorescent protein, to establish that at least two intracellular structures are involved in the compartmentalization of the synthesis steps of this metabolite.

Conclusions: The predicted pathway for the synthesis of viriditoxin was established by a combination of genomics, bioinformatics, gene disruption and chemical analysis processes. Hence, this work reveals the basis for the synthesis of an understudied class of fungal secondary metabolites and provides a new model species for understanding the synthesis of biaryl compounds with a chiral axis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Number of pages13
JournalFungal Biology and Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Correction: Fungal Biology and Biotechnology. Publisher Correction to: Fungal Biology and Biotechnology, volume 6. Fungal Biol Biotechnol 6, 10 (2019).


  • Atropisomer
  • Eurotiales
  • Gene cluster
  • Laccase
  • Polyketide synthase


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