Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)
Role of modular polyketide synthases in the production of polyether ladder compounds in ciguatoxin-producing Gambierdiscus polynesiensis and G. excentricus (Dinophyceae)
Kohli GS, Campbell K, Uwe J, Smith KF, Fraga S, Rhodes L, Murray SA 2017a. Role of modular polyketide synthases in the production of polyether ladder compounds in ciguatoxin-producing Gambierdiscus polynesiensis and G. excentricus (Dinophyceae). Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, published online.
DOI link here
Gambierdiscus, a benthic dinoflagellate, produces ciguatoxins that cause the human illness Ciguatera. Ciguatoxins are polyether ladder compounds that have a polyketide origin, indicating that polyketide synthases (PKS) are involved in their production. We sequenced transcriptomes of Gambierdiscus excentricus and Gambierdiscus polynesiensis and found 264 contigs encoding single domain ketoacyl synthases (KS; G. excentricus: 106, G. polynesiensis: 143) and ketoreductases (KR; G. excentricus: 7, G. polynesiensis: 8) with sequence similarity to type I PKSs, as reported in other dinoflagellates. In addition, 24 contigs (G. excentricus: 3, G. polynesiensis: 21) encoding multiple PKS domains (forming typical type I PKSs modules) were found. The proposed structure produced by one of these megasynthases resembles a partial carbon backbone of a polyether ladder compound. Seventeen contigs encoding single domain KS, KR, s-malonyltransacylase, dehydratase and enoyl reductase with sequence similarity to type II fatty acid synthases (FAS) in plants were found. Type I PKS and type II FAS genes were distinguished based on the arrangement of domains on the contigs and their sequence similarity and phylogenetic clustering with known PKS/FAS genes in other organisms. This differentiation of PKS and FAS pathways in Gambierdiscus is important, as it will facilitate approaches to investigating toxin biosynthesis pathways in dinoflagellates.