Carotenoid Biosynthesis Thesis Statements

Abstract

Many fungi of the genus Fusarium stand out for the complexity of their secondary metabolism. Individual species may differ in their metabolic capacities, but they usually share the ability to synthesize carotenoids, a family of hydrophobic terpenoid pigments widely distributed in nature. Early studies on carotenoid biosynthesis in Fusariumaquaeductuum have been recently extended in Fusarium fujikuroi and Fusarium oxysporum, well-known biotechnological and phytopathogenic models, respectively. The major Fusarium carotenoid is neurosporaxanthin, a carboxylic xanthophyll synthesized from geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate through the activity of four enzymes, encoded by the genes carRA, carB, carT and carD. These fungi produce also minor amounts of β-carotene, which may be cleaved by the CarX oxygenase to produce retinal, the rhodopsin’s chromophore. The genes needed to produce retinal are organized in a gene cluster with a rhodopsin gene, while other carotenoid genes are not linked. In the investigated Fusarium species, the synthesis of carotenoids is induced by light through the transcriptional induction of the structural genes. In some species, deep-pigmented mutants with up-regulated expression of these genes are affected in the regulatory gene carS. The molecular mechanisms underlying the control by light and by the CarS protein are currently under investigation. View Full-Text

Keywords: neurosporaxanthin; xanthophyll; apocarotenoid; retinal; torulene; photoinduction; RING-Finger protein; carotenoid gene clusterneurosporaxanthin; xanthophyll; apocarotenoid; retinal; torulene; photoinduction; RING-Finger protein; carotenoid gene cluster

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