Spatial and temporal control of fungal natural product synthesis
Covering: up to May 2014
Despite their oftentimes-elusive ecological role, fungal natural products have, for better or worse, impacted our daily lives tremendously owing to their diverse and potent bioactive properties. This Janus-faced nature of fungal natural products inevitably ushered in a field of research dedicated towards understanding the ecology, organisms, genes, enzymes, and biosynthetic pathways that give rise to this arsenal of diverse and complex chemistry. Ongoing research in fungal secondary metabolism has not only increased our appreciation for fungal natural products as an asset but also sheds light on the pivotal role that these once-regarded “metabolic wastes” play in fungal biology, defense, and stress response in addition to their potential contributions towards human mycoses. Full orchestration of secondary metabolism requires not only the seamless coordination between temporal and spatial control of SM-associated machineries (e.g. enzymes, cofactors, intermediates, and end-products) but also integration of these machineries into primary metabolic processes and established cellular mechanisms. An intriguing, but little known aspect of microbial natural product synthesis lies in the spatial organization of both pathway intermediates and enzymes responsible for the production of these compounds. In this highlight, we summarize some major breakthroughs in understanding the genes and regulation of fungal natural product synthesis and introduce the current state of knowledge on the spatial and temporal control of fungal natural product synthesis.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Fungal Natural Products