• Analogs of the carotane antibiotic fulvoferruginin from submerged cultures of a Thai sp.

      Sandargo, Birthe; Kaysan, Leon; Teponno, Rémy B; Richter, Christian; Thongbai, Benjarong; Surup, Frank; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Beilstein Institut, 2021-06-04)
      A recent find of a Marasmius species in Northern Thailand led to the isolation of five unprecedented derivatives of the carotane antibiotic fulvoferruginin (1), fulvoferruginins B-F (2-6). The structures of these sesquiterpenoids were elucidated using HRESIMS, 1D and 2D NMR, as well as CD spectroscopy. Assessing the bioactivity, fulvoferruginin emerged as a potent cytotoxic agent of potential pharmaceutical interest.
    • Synthesis of the fungal macrolide berkeleylactone A and its inhibition of microbial biofilm formation.

      Schriefer, Manuel G; Schrey, Hedda; Zeng, Haoxuan; Stadler, Marc; Schobert, Rainer; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021-05-03)
      The fungal macrolide berkeleylactone A was synthesised in 13 steps and 24% yield using (R)-propylene oxide and an asymmetric Noyori hydrogenation of a β-ketoester to install the stereogenic centres. A domino addition-Wittig olefination of a 13-hydroxytetradecanal intermediate with the cumulated ylide Ph3PCCO closed the macrocyle by establishing the α,β-unsaturated ester group, necessary for the attachment of the sidechain thiol via a thia-Michael reaction. The synthetic berkeleylactone A inhibited the formation of Staphylococcus aureus biofilms and showed significant dispersive effects on preformed biofilms of Candida albicans by at least 45% relative to untreated controls at concentrations as low as 1.3 μg mL-1.
    • How to publish a new fungal species, or name, version 3.0.

      Aime, M Catherine; Miller, Andrew N; Aoki, Takayuki; Bensch, Konstanze; Cai, Lei; Crous, Pedro W; Hawksworth, David L; Hyde, Kevin D; Kirk, Paul M; Lücking, Robert; et al. (BMC, 2021-05-03)
      It is now a decade since The International Commission on the Taxonomy of Fungi (ICTF) produced an overview of requirements and best practices for describing a new fungal species. In the meantime the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICNafp) has changed from its former name (the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature) and introduced new formal requirements for valid publication of species scientific names, including the separation of provisions specific to Fungi and organisms treated as fungi in a new Chapter F. Equally transformative have been changes in the data collection, data dissemination, and analytical tools available to mycologists. This paper provides an updated and expanded discussion of current publication requirements along with best practices for the description of new fungal species and publication of new names and for improving accessibility of their associated metadata that have developed over the last 10 years. Additionally, we provide: (1) model papers for different fungal groups and circumstances; (2) a checklist to simplify meeting (i) the requirements of the ICNafp to ensure the effective, valid and legitimate publication of names of new taxa, and (ii) minimally accepted standards for description; and, (3) templates for preparing standardized species descriptions.
    • Ophiocordyceps flavida sp. nov. (Ophiocordycipitaceae), a new species from Thailand associated with Pseudogibellula formicarum (Cordycipitaceae), and their bioactive secondary metabolites

      Mongkolsamrit, Suchada; Noisripoom, Wasana; Pumiputikul, Siraphop; Boonlarppradab, Chollaratt; Samson, Robert A.; Stadler, Marc; Becker, Kevin; Luangsa-Ard, Janet Jennifer; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer Nature, 2021-04-01)
      During a diversity study of entomopathogenic fungi in an agricultural ecosystem, two fungi were collected, isolated, and identified based on molecular phylogenetic analyses of three nuclear loci (LSU, TEF1, and RPB1) combined with morphological data. In this study, one novel species is described, Ophiocordyceps flavida, and a new record of Pseudogibellula formicarum for Thailand. Ophiocordyceps flavida morphologically resembles the Hirsutella anamorph of Ophiocordyceps pruinosa by having a mononematous character of the conidiophores and the same insect host (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). Pseudogibellula formicarum is found to occur simultaneously with O. flavida, producing white conidiophores on the host. Additionally, secondary metabolites of both fungi were investigated and the major compound in O. flavida was identified as 2-[2-(4-chlorophenyl)ethyl]-2-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-oxirane. Pseudogibellula formicarum from Ghana and Thailand produces 6-methoxy-1H-indole-3-carbonitrile as a main component. These compounds are known from chemical synthesis or as products of biotransformation, respectively. However, they were obtained in our study as genuine fungal metabolites for the first time and may even constitute chemotaxonomic markers for the respective species
    • New developments in mycological taxonomy and nomenclature and news about the future development of Mycological Progress.

      Stadler, Marc; Weber, Evi; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer Nature, 2021-03-27)
      [No abstract available]
    • Amycolatomycins A and B, Cyclic Hexapeptides Isolated from an amycolatopsis sp. 195334CR.

      Primahana, Gian; Risdian, Chandra; Mozef, Tjandrawati; Wink, Joachim; Surup, Frank; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-03-05)
      The rare actinobacterium Amycolatopsis sp. strain 195334CR was found to produce previously undescribed cyclic hexapeptides, which we named amycolatomycin A and B (1 and 2). Their planar structures were determined by high-resolution mass spectrometry as well as extensive 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy, while the absolute stereochemistry of its amino acids were determined by Marfey's method. Moreover, 1 and 2 differ by the incorporation of l-Ile and l-allo-Ile, respectively, whose FDVA (Nα-(2,4-Dinitro-5-fluorphenyl)-L-valinamide) derivatives were separated on a C4 column. Their hallmark in common is a unique 2,6-dichloro-tryptophan amino acid unit. Amycolatomycin A (1) exhibited weak activity against Bacillus subtilis DSM 10 (minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) = 33.4 µg/mL).
    • Three New Derivatives of Zopfinol from Pseudorhypophila Mangenotii gen. et comb. nov

      Harms, Karen; Milic, Andrea; Stchigel, Alberto M; Stadler, Marc; Surup, Frank; Marin-Felix, Yasmina; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-03-03)
      Triangularia mangenotti was analyzed for the production of secondary metabolites, resulting in the isolation of known zopfinol (1) and its new derivatives zopfinol B-C (2-4), the 10-membered lactones 7-O-acetylmultiplolide A (5) and 8-O-acetylmultiplolide A (6), together with sordarin (7), sordarin B (8), and hypoxysordarin (9). The absolute configuration of 1 was elucidated by the synthesis of MPTA-esters. Compound 1 showed antimicrobial activity against the Gram-positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus and the fungus Mucor hiemalis. While 4 was weakly antibacterial, 3 showed stronger antibiotic activity against the Gram-positive bacteria and weak antifungal activity against M. hiemalis and Rhodotorula glutinis. We furthermore observed the cytotoxicity of 1, 3 and 4 against the mammalian cell lines KB3.1 and L929. Moreover, the new genus Pseudorhypophila is introduced herein to accommodate Triangularia mangenotii together with several species of Zopfiella-Z. marina, Z. pilifera, and Z. submersa. These taxa formed a well-supported monophyletic clade in the recently introduced family Navicularisporaceae, located far from the type species of the respective original genera, in a phylogram based on the combined dataset sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS), the nuclear rDNA large subunit (LSU), and fragments of the ribosomal polymerase II subunit 2 (rpb2) and β-tubulin (tub2) genes. Zopfiella submersa is synonymized with P. marina due to the phylogenetic and morphological similarity. The isolation of zopfinols 1-4 and sordarins 7-9 confirms the potential of this fungal order as producers of bioactive compounds and suggests these compounds as potential chemotaxonomic markers.
    • Resolution of the Hypoxylon fuscum complex (hypoxylaceae, xylariales) and discovery and biological characterization of two of its prominent secondary metabolites.

      Lambert, Christopher; Pourmoghaddam, Mohammad Javad; Cedeño-Sanchez, Marjorie; Surup, Frank; Khodaparast, Seyed Akbar; Krisai-Greilhuber, Irmgard; Voglmayr, Hermann; Stradal, Theresia E B; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-02-11)
      Hypoxylon, a large, cosmopolitan genus of Ascomycota is in the focus of our current poly-thetic taxonomic studies, and served as an excellent source for bioactive secondary metabolites at the same time. The present work concerns a survey of the Hypoxylon fuscum species complex based on specimens from Iran and Europe by morphological studies and high performance liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry and diode array detection (HPLC-MS-DAD). Apart from known chemotaxonomic markers like binaphthalene tetrol (BNT) and daldinin F, two unprece-dented molecules were detected and subsequently isolated to purity by semi preparative HPLC. Their structures were established by nuclear-magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy as 3'-malonyl-daldinin F (6) and pseudofuscochalasin A (4). The new daldinin derivative 6 showed weak cytotoxicity towards mammalian cells but bactericidal activity. The new cytochalasin 4 was compared to cytochalasin C in an actin disruption assay using fluorescence microscopy of human osteo-sarcoma U2OS cells, revealing comparable activity towards F-actin but being irreversible compared to cytochalasin C. Concurrently, a multilocus molecular phylogeny based on ribosomal and proteinogenic nucleotide sequences of Hypoxylon species resulted in a well-supported clade for H. fuscum and its allies. From a comparison of morphological, chemotaxonomic and phylogenetic evidence, we introduce the new species H. eurasiaticum and H. pseudofuscum.
    • Multisystem combined uranium resistance mechanisms and bioremediation potential of Stenotrophomonas bentonitica BII-R7: Transcriptomics and microscopic study

      Pinel-Cabello, M.; Jroundi, F.; López-Fernández, M.; Geffers, R.; Jarek, M.; Jauregui, R.; Link, A.; Vílchez-Vargas, R.; Merroun, M. L.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2021-02-05)
      The potential use of microorganisms in the bioremediation of U pollution has been extensively described. However, a lack of knowledge on molecular resistance mechanisms has become a challenge for the use of these technologies. We reported on the transcriptomic and microscopic response of Stenotrophomonas bentonitica BII-R7 exposed to 100 and 250 μM of U. Results showed that exposure to 100 μM displayed up-regulation of 185 and 148 genes during the lag and exponential phases, respectively, whereas 143 and 194 were down-regulated, out of 3786 genes (>1.5-fold change). Exposure to 250 μM of U showed up-regulation of 68 genes and down-regulation of 290 during the lag phase. Genes involved in cell wall and membrane protein synthesis, efflux systems and phosphatases were up-regulated under all conditions tested. Microscopic observations evidenced the formation of U-phosphate minerals at membrane and extracellular levels. Thus, a biphasic process is likely to occur: the increased cell wall would promote the biosorption of U to the cell surface and its precipitation as U-phosphate minerals enhanced by phosphatases. Transport systems would prevent U accumulation in the cytoplasm. These findings contribute to an understanding of how microbes cope with U toxicity, thus allowing for the development of efficient bioremediation strategies.
    • Natural products in drug discovery: advances and opportunities.

      Atanasov, Atanas G; Zotchev, Sergey B; Dirsch, Verena M; Supuran, Claudiu T; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer Nature, 2021-01-28)
      Natural products and their structural analogues have historically made a major contribution to pharmacotherapy, especially for cancer and infectious diseases. Nevertheless, natural products also present challenges for drug discovery, such as technical barriers to screening, isolation, characterization and optimization, which contributed to a decline in their pursuit by the pharmaceutical industry from the 1990s onwards. In recent years, several technological and scientific developments - including improved analytical tools, genome mining and engineering strategies, and microbial culturing advances - are addressing such challenges and opening up new opportunities. Consequently, interest in natural products as drug leads is being revitalized, particularly for tackling antimicrobial resistance. Here, we summarize recent technological developments that are enabling natural product-based drug discovery, highlight selected applications and discuss key opportunities.
    • Taxonomy, Diversity and Cultivation of the Oudemansielloid/Xeruloid Taxa Hymenopellis, Mucidula, Oudemansiella, and Xerula and with Respect to Their Bioactivities: A Review.

      Niego, Allen Grace; Raspé, Olivier; Thongklang, Naritsada; Charoensup, Rawiwan; Lumyong, Saisamorn; Stadler, Marc; Hyde, Kevin D; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-01-13)
      The oudemansielloid/xeruloid taxa Hymenopellis, Mucidula, Oudemansiella, and Xerula are genera of Basidiomycota that constitute an important resource of bioactive compounds. Numerous studies have shown antimicrobial, anti-oxidative, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and other bioactivities of their extracts. The bioactive principles can be divided into two major groups: (a) hydrophilic polysaccharides with relatively high molecular weights and (b) low molecular medium polar secondary metabolites, such as the antifungal strobilurins. In this review, we summarize the state of the art on biodiversity, cultivation of the fungi and bioactivities of their secondary metabolites and discuss future applications. Although the strobilurins are well-documented, with commercial applications as agrochemical fungicides, there are also other known compounds from this group that have not yet been well-studied. Polysaccharides, dihydro-citrinone phenol A acid, scalusamides, and acetylenic lactones such as xerulin, also have potential applications in the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and medicinal market and should be further explored. Further studies are recommended to isolate high quality bioactive compounds and fully understand their modes of action. Given that only few species of oudemansielloid/xeruloid mushrooms have been explored for their production of secondary metabolites, these taxa represent unexplored sources of potentially useful and novel bioactive metabolites.
    • Discovery of novel biologically active secondary metabolites from Thai mycodiversity with anti-infective potential

      Kuephadungphan, Wilawan; Macabeo, Allan Patrick G.; Luangsa-Ard, Janet Jennifer; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2021-01-01)
      This mini-review is dedicated to the summary of results of the EU-funded Project “Golden Mycological Triangle” (acronym GoMyTri), which was carried out in collaboration of three research infrastructures in Germany, the Netherlands and Thailand during the years 2014–2018. The cooperation explored the mycological and microbiological biodiversity of Europe and Southeast Asia with regard to the search for the badly needed new antibiotics and other biologically active secondary metabolites. The project was conducted to foster international collaboration networks, know-how exchange and interdisciplinary training of young scientists. The first two years of the project were mainly dedicated to field work, and several hundreds of fungal cultures have been isolated from material mostly collected in Thailand. These fungal strains were characterized by morphological and molecular phylogenetic methods and several new taxa were discovered. The cultures underwent screening for antimicrobial and nematicidal metabolites and a number of bioactive metabolites have already been found, isolated and characterized. Several large phylogenetic studies have already been published that resulted from the project work. The results were also brought to the attention of the scientific community as well as the general public through various dissemination events. Based on the tremendous success of this project, a follow-up project application including additional partners from Africa and further European countries has recently been filed and approved, and the international, interdisciplinary collaboration will now continue in the new RISE-MSCA-Project (acronym “Mycobiomics”).
    • Corallopyronin A for short-course anti-wolbachial, macrofilaricidal treatment of filarial infections.

      Schiefer, Andrea; Hübner, Marc P; Krome, Anna; Lämmer, Christine; Ehrens, Alexandra; Aden, Tilman; Koschel, Marianne; Neufeld, Helene; Chaverra-Muñoz, Lillibeth; Jansen, Rolf; et al. (PLOS, 2020-12-07)
      Current efforts to eliminate the neglected tropical diseases onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis, caused by the filarial nematodes Onchocerca volvulus and Wuchereria bancrofti or Brugia spp., respectively, are hampered by lack of a short-course macrofilaricidal-adult-worm killing-treatment. Anti-wolbachial antibiotics, e.g. doxycycline, target the essential Wolbachia endosymbionts of filariae and are a safe prototype adult-worm-sterilizing and macrofilaricidal regimen, in contrast to standard treatments with ivermectin or diethylcarbamazine, which mainly target the microfilariae. However, treatment regimens of 4-5 weeks necessary for doxycycline and contraindications limit its use. Therefore, we tested the preclinical anti-Wolbachia drug candidate Corallopyronin A (CorA) for in vivo efficacy during initial and chronic filarial infections in the Litomosoides sigmodontis rodent model. CorA treatment for 14 days beginning immediately after infection cleared >90% of Wolbachia endosymbionts from filariae and prevented development into adult worms. CorA treatment of patently infected microfilaremic gerbils for 14 days with 30 mg/kg twice a day (BID) achieved a sustained reduction of >99% of Wolbachia endosymbionts from adult filariae and microfilariae, followed by complete inhibition of filarial embryogenesis resulting in clearance of microfilariae. Combined treatment of CorA and albendazole, a drug currently co-administered during mass drug administrations and previously shown to enhance efficacy of anti-Wolbachia drugs, achieved microfilarial clearance after 7 days of treatment at a lower BID dose of 10 mg/kg CorA, a Human Equivalent Dose of 1.4 mg/kg. Importantly, this combination led to a significant reduction in the adult worm burden, which has not yet been published with other anti-Wolbachia candidates tested in this model. In summary, CorA is a preclinical candidate for filariasis, which significantly reduces treatment times required to achieve sustained Wolbachia depletion, clearance of microfilariae, and inhibition of embryogenesis. In combination with albendazole, CorA is robustly macrofilaricidal after 7 days of treatment and fulfills the Target Product Profile for a macrofilaricidal drug.
    • Secondary metabolites of Phlebopus species from Northern Thailand

      Chuankid, Boontiya; Schrey, Hedda; Thongbai, Benjarong; Raspé, Olivier; Arnold, Norbert; Hyde, Kevin David; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer.com, 2020-12-01)
      Submerged cultures of the edible mushrooms Phlebopus portentosus and Phlebopus spongiosus were screened for their secondary metabolites by HPLC-UV/Vis and HR-LC-ESI-MS. Two new compounds, 9′-hydroxyphenyl pulvinone (1), containing an unusual pulvinone structure, and phlebopyron (2), together with the seven known pigments, atromentic acid (3), xerocomic acid (4), variegatic acid (5), methyl atromentate (6), methyl isoxerocomate (7), methyl variegatate (8), and variegatorubin (9) were isolated from the cultures. Their structures were assigned on the basis of extensive 1D/2D NMR spectroscopic analyses, as well as HR-ESI-MS, and HR-ESI-MS/MS measurements. Furthermore, the isolated compounds were evaluated for their antimicrobial and cytotoxic properties. 9′-hydroxyphenyl pulvinone (1), xerocomic acid (4), and methyl variegatate (8) exhibited weak to moderate cytotoxic activities against several tumor cell lines. The present paper provides a comprehensive characterization of pigments from the class of pulvinic acids that are present in the basidiomes of many edible bolete species.
    • Macrooxazoles A-D, New 2,5-Disubstituted Oxazole-4-Carboxylic Acid Derivatives from the Plant Pathogenic Fungus .

      Matio Kemkuignou, Blondelle; Treiber, Laura; Zeng, Haoxuan; Schrey, Hedda; Schobert, Rainer; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-11-24)
      In our ongoing search for new bioactive fungal metabolites, four previously undescribed oxazole carboxylic acid derivatives (1-4) for which we proposed the trivial names macrooxazoles A-D together with two known tetramic acids (5-6) were isolated from the plant pathogenic fungus Phoma macrostoma. Their structures were elucidated based on high-resolution mass spectrometry (HR-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The hitherto unclear structure of macrocidin Z (6) was also confirmed by its first total synthesis. The isolated compounds were evaluated for their antimicrobial activities against a panel of bacteria and fungi. Cytotoxic and anti-biofilm activities of the isolates are also reported herein. The new compound 3 exhibited weak-to-moderate antimicrobial activity as well as the known macrocidins 5 and 6. Only the mixture of compounds 2 and 4 (ratio 1:2) showed weak cytotoxic activity against the tested cancer cell lines with an IC50 of 23 µg/mL. Moreover, the new compounds 2 and 3, as well as the known compounds 5 and 6, interfered with the biofilm formation of Staphylococcus aureus, inhibiting 65%, 75%, 79%, and 76% of biofilm at 250 µg/mL, respectively. Compounds 5 and 6 also exhibited moderate activity against S. aureus preformed biofilm with the highest inhibition percentage of 75% and 73% at 250 µg/mL, respectively.
    • Solubility and Stability Enhanced Oral Formulations for the Anti-Infective Corallopyronin A.

      Krome, Anna K; Becker, Tim; Kehraus, Stefan; Schiefer, Andrea; Steinebach, Christian; Aden, Tilman; Frohberger, Stefan J; López Mármol, Álvaro; Kapote, Dnyaneshwar; Jansen, Rolf; et al. (MDPI, 2020-11-18)
      Novel-antibiotics are urgently needed to combat an increase in morbidity and mortality due to resistant bacteria. The preclinical candidate corallopyronin A (CorA) is a potent antibiotic against Gram-positive and some Gram-negative pathogens for which a solid oral formulation was needed for further preclinical testing of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). The neat API CorA is poorly water-soluble and instable at room temperature, both crucial characteristics to be addressed and overcome for use as an oral antibiotic. Therefore, amorphous solid dispersion (ASD) was chosen as formulation principle. The formulations were prepared by spray-drying, comprising the water-soluble polymers povidone and copovidone. Stability (high-performance liquid chromatography, Fourier-transform-infrared spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry), dissolution (biphasic dissolution), and solubility (biphasic dissolution, Pion's T3 apparatus) properties were analyzed. Pharmacokinetic evaluations after intravenous and oral administration were conducted in BALB/c mice. The results demonstrated that the ASD formulation principle is a suitable stability- and solubility-enhancing oral formulation strategy for the API CorA to be used in preclinical and clinical trials and as a potential market product.
    • Isolation of a gene cluster from Armillaria gallica for the synthesis of armillyl orsellinate-type sesquiterpenoids.

      Engels, Benedikt; Heinig, Uwe; McElroy, Christopher; Meusinger, Reinhard; Grothe, Torsten; Stadler, Marc; Jennewein, Stefan; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer, 2020-11-16)
      Melleolides and armillyl orsellinates are protoilludene-type aryl esters that are synthesized exclusively by parasitic fungi of the globally distributed genus Armillaria (Agaricomycetes, Physalacriaceae). Several of these compounds show potent antimicrobial and cytotoxic activities, making them promising leads for the development of new antibiotics or drugs for the treatment of cancer. We recently cloned and characterized the Armillaria gallica gene Pro1 encoding protoilludene synthase, a sesquiterpene cyclase catalyzing the pathway-committing step to all protoilludene-type aryl esters. Fungal enzymes representing secondary metabolic pathways are sometimes encoded by gene clusters, so we hypothesized that the missing steps in the pathway to melleolides and armillyl orsellinates might be identified by cloning the genes surrounding Pro1. Here we report the isolation of an A. gallica gene cluster encoding protoilludene synthase and four cytochrome P450 monooxygenases. Heterologous expression and functional analysis resulted in the identification of protoilludene-8α-hydroxylase, which catalyzes the first committed step in the armillyl orsellinate pathway. This confirms that ∆-6-protoilludene is a precursor for the synthesis of both melleolides and armillyl orsellinates, but the two pathways already branch at the level of the first oxygenation step. Our results provide insight into the synthesis of these valuable natural products and pave the way for their production by metabolic engineering. KEY POINTS: • Protoilludene-type aryl esters are bioactive metabolites produced by Armillaria spp. • The pathway-committing step to these compounds is catalyzed by protoilludene synthase. • We characterized CYP-type enzymes in the cluster and identified novel intermediates.
    • Unsaturated Fatty Acids Control Biofilm Formation of and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria.

      Yuyama, Kamila Tomoko; Rohde, Manfred; Molinari, Gabriella; Stadler, Marc; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-11-08)
      Infections involving biofilms are difficult to treat due to increased resistances against antibiotics and the immune system. Hence, there is an urgent demand for novel drugs against biofilm infections. During our search for novel biofilm inhibitors from fungi, we isolated linoleic acid from the ascomycete Hypoxylon fragiforme which showed biofilm inhibition of several bacteria at sub-MIC concentrations. Many fatty acids possess antimicrobial activities, but their minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) are high and reports on biofilm interferences are scarce. We demonstrated that not only linoleic acid but several unsaturated long-chain fatty acids inhibited biofilms at sub-MIC concentrations. The antibiofilm activity exerted by long-chain fatty acids was mainly against Gram-positive bacteria, especially against Staphylococcus aureus. Micrographs of treated S. aureus biofilms revealed a reduction in the extracellular polymeric substances, pointing to a possible mode of action of fatty acids on S. aureus biofilms. The fatty acids had a strong species specificity. Poly-unsaturated fatty acids had higher activities than saturated ones, but no obvious rule could be found for the optimal length and desaturation for maximal activity. As free fatty acids are non-toxic and ubiquitous in food, they may offer a novel tool, especially in combination with antibiotics, for the control of biofilm infections.
    • Simplicilones A and B Isolated from the Endophytic Fungus SPC3.

      Anoumedem, Elodie Gisèle M; Mountessou, Bel Youssouf G; Kouam, Simeon F; Narmani, Abolfazl; Surup, Frank; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-10-29)
      Two new tetracyclic polyketides with a spirocenter, simplicilones A (1) and B (2) were isolated from the broth-culture of the endophytic fungus Simplicilliumsubtropicum (SPC3) in the course of our screening for new bioactive secondary metabolites. This endophytoic fungus is naturally harboured in the fresh bark of the Cameroonian medicinal plant Duguetia staudtii (Engl. and Diels) Chatrou. The planar structures of the simplicilones were elucidated by MS and 1D as well as 2D NMR spectroscopic techniques. The relative configuration was assigned by NOESY experiments in conjunction with coupling constants; subsequently, the absolute configurations were assigned by the modified Mosher's method. The compounds showed weak cytotoxic effects against the cell line KB3.1 (in vitro cytotoxicity (IC50) = 25 µg/mL for 1, 29 µg/mL for 2), but were inactive against the tested Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria as well as fungi.
    • Recent progress in biodiversity research on the Xylariales and their secondary metabolism.

      Becker, Kevin; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer Nature, 2020-10-23)
      The families Xylariaceae and Hypoxylaceae (Xylariales, Ascomycota) represent one of the most prolific lineages of secondary metabolite producers. Like many other fungal taxa, they exhibit their highest diversity in the tropics. The stromata as well as the mycelial cultures of these fungi (the latter of which are frequently being isolated as endophytes of seed plants) have given rise to the discovery of many unprecedented secondary metabolites. Some of those served as lead compounds for development of pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals. Recently, the endophytic Xylariales have also come in the focus of biological control, since some of their species show strong antagonistic effects against fungal and other pathogens. New compounds, including volatiles as well as nonvolatiles, are steadily being discovered from these ascomycetes, and polythetic taxonomy now allows for elucidation of the life cycle of the endophytes for the first time. Moreover, recently high-quality genome sequences of some strains have become available, which facilitates phylogenomic studies as well as the elucidation of the biosynthetic gene clusters (BGC) as a starting point for synthetic biotechnology approaches. In this review, we summarize recent findings, focusing on the publications of the past 3 years.