Biosynthesis of the cyclooligomer depsipeptide bassianolide, an insecticidal virulence factor of Beauveria bassiana

Yuquan Xu, Rousel Orozco, E. M. Kithsiri Wijeratne, Patricia Espinosa-Artiles, A. A. Leslie Gunatilaka, S. Patricia Stock, István Molnár

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Beauveria bassiana is a facultative entomopathogen with an extremely broad host range that is used as a commercial biopesticide for the control of insects of agricultural, veterinary and medical significance. B. bassiana produces bassianolide, a cyclooligomer depsipeptide secondary metabolite. We have cloned the bbBsls gene of B. bassiana encoding a nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS). Targeted inactivation of the B. bassiana genomic copy of bbBsls abolished bassianolide production, but did not affect the biosynthesis of beauvericin, another cyclodepsipeptide produced by the strain. Comparative sequence analysis of the BbBSLS bassianolide synthetase revealed enzymatic domains for the iterative synthesis of an enzyme-bound dipeptidol monomer intermediate from d-2-hydroxyisovalerate and l-leucine. Further BbBSLS domains are predicted to catalyze the formation of the cyclic tetrameric ester bassianolide by recursive condensations of this monomer. Comparative infection assays against three selected insect hosts established bassianolide as a highly significant virulence factor of B. bassiana.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-364
Number of pages12
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • Agrobacterium-mediated transformation
  • Cyclic depsipeptide
  • Insect pathogenesis assay
  • Iterative biosynthesis
  • Nonribosomal peptide synthetase
  • Virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics


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