Apocarotenoids in the sexual interaction of Phycomyces blakesleeanus†
A simple genetic test allowed us to carry out the first systematic study of the apocarotenoids in the Mucorales. We have identified 13 apocarotenoids in the culture media of the fungus Phycomyces blakesleeanus (Mucoromycota, Mucorales). Three of these compounds were novel apocarotenoids: (2S,8R,E)-8,14-epoxycyclofarnesa-4,6,9-triene-2,11-diol (6), (2S,6E,8E)-cyclofarnesa-4,6,8-triene-2,10,11-triol (7), and its 6Z isomer (8). Four of the remaining compounds have been reported previously from this fungus and six from other Mucorales. All of them belong to three families, the 18-carbon trisporoids, the 15-carbon cyclofarnesoids, and the 7-carbon methylhexanoids, derived from the three fragments that result when β-carotene is cleaved at its 11′,12′ and 12,13 double bonds. The apocarotenoids were more varied and more abundant in mated cultures of strains of opposite sex than in single cultures. The presence of acetate in the medium blocked the production of many apocarotenoids while having little effect on the concentrations of the remaining ones.