Background: With thousands of fungal genomes being sequenced, each genome containing up to 70 secondary metabolite (SM) clusters 30-80 kb in size, breakthrough techniques are needed to characterize this SM wealth. Results: Here we describe a novel system-level methodology for unbiased cloning of intact large SM clusters from a single fungal genome for one-step transformation and expression in a model host. All 56 intact SM clusters from Aspergillus terreus were individually captured in self-replicating fungal artificial chromosomes (FACs) containing both the E. coli F replicon and an Aspergillus autonomously replicating sequence (AMA1). Candidate FACs were successfully shuttled between E. coli and the heterologous expression host A. nidulans. As proof-of-concept, an A. nidulans FAC strain was characterized in a novel liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS) and data analysis pipeline, leading to the discovery of the A. terreus astechrome biosynthetic machinery. Conclusion: The method we present can be used to capture the entire set of intact SM gene clusters and/or pathways from fungal species for heterologous expression in A. nidulans and natural product discovery.
- Functional genomics
- Fungal artificial chromosome (FAC)
- Natural product discovery
- Secondary metabolite (SM) gene clusters
ASJC Scopus subject areas