While abscisic acid (ABA) is known as a hormone produced by plants through the carotenoid pathway, a small number of phytopathogenic fungi are also able to produce this sesquiterpene but they use a distinct pathway that starts with the cyclization of farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) into 2Z,4E-a-ionylideneethane which is then subjected to several oxidation steps. To identify the sesquiterpene cyclase (STC) responsible for the biosynthesis of ABA in fungi, we conducted a genomic approach in Botrytis cinerea. The genome of the ABA-overproducing strain ATCC58025 was fully sequenced and five STC-coding genes were identified. Among them, Bcstc5 exhibits an expression profile concomitant with ABA production. Gene inactivation, complementation and chemical analysis demonstrated that BcStc5/BcAba5 is the key enzyme responsible for the key step of ABA biosynthesis in fungi. Unlike what is observed for most of the fungal secondary metabolism genes, the key enzyme-coding gene Bcstc5/Bcaba5 is not clustered with the other biosynthetic genes, i.e., Bcaba1 to Bcaba4 that are responsible for the oxidative transformation of 2Z,4E-a-ionylideneethane. Finally, our study revealed that the presence of the Bcaba genes among Botrytis species is rare and that the majority of them do not possess the ability to produce ABA.© 2018 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Journal: Environmental microbiology