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Issue 3, 2011
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Ergot alkaloids: structure diversity, biosynthetic gene clusters and functional proof of biosynthetic genes

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Abstract

Covering: 2000 to 2010

Ergot alkaloids are toxins and important pharmaceuticals which are produced biotechnologically on an industrial scale. They have been identified in two orders of fungi and three families of higher plants. The most important producers are fungi of the genera Claviceps, Penicillium and Aspergillus (all belonging to the Ascomycota). Chemically, ergot alkaloids are characterised by the presence of a tetracyclic ergoline ring, and can be divided into three classes according to their structural features, i.e.amide- or peptide-like amide derivatives of D-lysergic acid and the clavine alkaloids. Significant progress has been achieved on the molecular biological and biochemical investigations of ergot alkaloid biosynthesis in the last decade. By gene cloning and genome mining, gene clusters for ergot alkaloid biosynthesis have been identified in at least 8 different ascomycete species. Functions of most structure genes have been assigned to reaction steps in the biosynthesis of ergot alkaloids by gene inactivation experiments or biochemical characterisation of the overproduced proteins.

Graphical abstract: Ergot alkaloids: structure diversity, biosynthetic gene clusters and functional proof of biosynthetic genes

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Publication details

The article was received on 26 Oct 2010 and first published on 24 Dec 2010


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C0NP00060D
Nat. Prod. Rep., 2011,28, 496-510

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    Ergot alkaloids: structure diversity, biosynthetic gene clusters and functional proof of biosynthetic genes

    C. Wallwey and S. Li, Nat. Prod. Rep., 2011, 28, 496
    DOI: 10.1039/C0NP00060D

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