Biosynthetic potential of Hypogymnia holobionts: insights into secondary metabolite pathways

Ahmad N., Ritz M., Calchera A., Otte J., Schmitt I., Brueck T. & Mehlmer N.
Journal of Fungi
9(5): 546 [16 p.]
Lichens are symbiotic associations consisting of a photobiont (algae or cyanobacteria) and a mycobiont (fungus). They are known to produce a variety of unique secondary metabolites. To access this biosynthetic potential for biotechnological applications, deeper insights into the biosynthetic pathways and corresponding gene clusters are necessary. Here we provide a comprehensive view of the biosynthetic gene clusters of all organisms comprising a lichen thallus: fungi, green algae, and bacteria. We present two high-quality PacBio metagenomes, in which we identified a total of 460 biosynthetic gene clusters. Lichen mycobionts yielded 73–114 clusters, other lichen associated ascomycetes 8–40, green algae of the genus Trebouxia 14–19, and lichen-associated bacteria 101–105 clusters. The mycobionts contained mainly T1PKSs, followed by NRPSs, and terpenes; Trebouxia reads harbored mainly clusters linked to terpenes, followed by NRPSs and T3PKSs. Other lichen-associated ascomycetes and bacteria contained a mix of diverse biosynthetic gene clusters. In this study, we identified for the first time the biosynthetic gene clusters of entire lichen holobionts. The yet untapped biosynthetic potential of two species of the genus Hypogymnia is made accessible for further research. Keywords: Hypogymnia physodes; Hypogymnia tubulosa; long read sequencing; polyketide synthesis; biosynthetic gene cluster; lichen; reference genome.
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