Nielsen, Morten Thrane7; Klejnstrup, Marie Louise1; Rohlfs, Marko8; Anyaogu, Diana Chinyere9; Nielsen, Jakob Blæsbjerg1; Gotfredsen, Charlotte Held4; Andersen, Mikael Rørdam1; Hansen, Bjarne Gram1; Mortensen, Uffe Hasbro1; Larsen, Thomas Ostenfeld1
1 Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark2 Natural Product Chemistry, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark3 Eucaryotic Molecular Cell Biology, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark4 Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark5 Organic Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark6 Network Engineering of Eukaryotic Cell Factories, Department of Systems Biology, Technical University of Denmark7 Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark8 Georg-August University Göttingen9 National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark
Secondary metabolites are known to serve a wide range of specialized functions including communication, developmental control and defense. Genome sequencing of several fungal model species revealed that the majority of predicted secondary metabolite related genes are silent in laboratory strains, indicating that fungal secondary metabolites remain an underexplored resource of bioactive molecules. In this study, we combine heterologous expression of regulatory proteins in Aspergillus nidulans with systematic variation of growth conditions and observe induced synthesis of insect juvenile hormone-III and methyl farnesoate. Both compounds are sesquiterpenes belonging to the juvenile hormone class. Juvenile hormones regulate developmental and metabolic processes in insects and crustaceans, but have not previously been reported as fungal metabolites. We found that feeding by Drosophila melanogaster larvae induced synthesis of juvenile hormone in A. nidulans indicating a possible role of juvenile hormone biosynthesis in affecting fungal-insect antagonisms.