Interkingdom gene transfer of a hybrid NPS/PKS from bacteria to filamentous ascomycota

Daniel P. Lawrence, Scott Kroken, Barry M. Pryor, A. Elizabeth Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Nonribosomal peptides (NRPs) and polyketides (PKs) are ecologically important secondary metabolites produced by bacteria and fungi using multidomain enzymes called nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and polyketide synthases (PKSs), respectively. Previous phylogenetic analyses of fungal NRPSs and PKSs have suggested that a few of these genes were acquired by fungi via horizontal gene transfer (HGT) from bacteria, including a hybrid NPS/PKS found in Cochliobolus heterostrophus (Dothideomycetes, Ascomycota). Here, we identify this hybrid gene in fungi representing two additional classes of Ascomycota (Aspergillus spp., Microsporum canis, Arthroderma spp., and Trichophyton spp., Eurotiomycetes; Chaetomium spp. and Metarhizium spp., Sordariomycetes) and use phylogenetic analyses of the most highly conserved domains from NRPSs (adenylation (A) domain) and PKSs (ketoacyl synthase (KS) domain) to examine the hypothesis that the hybrid NPS7/PKS24 was acquired by fungi from bacteria via HGT relatively early in the evolution of the Pezizomycotina. Our results reveal a unique ancestry of the A domain and KS domain in the hybrid gene relative to known fungal NRPSs and PKSs, provide strong evidence for HGT of the hybrid gene from a putative bacterial donor in the Burkholderiales, and suggest the HGT event occurred early in the evolution of the filamentous Ascomycota.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere28231
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 29 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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