Heterologous expression of the avirulence gene ACE1 from the fungal rice pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae
The ACE1 and RAP1 genes from the avirulence signalling gene cluster of the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae were expressed in Aspergillus oryzae and M. oryzae itself. Expression of ACE1 alone produced a polyenyl pyrone (magnaporthepyrone), which is regioselectively epoxidised and hydrolysed to give different diols, 6 and 7, in the two host organisms. Analysis of the three introns present in ACE1 determined that A. oryzae does not process intron 2 correctly, while M. oryzae processes all introns correctly in both appressoria and mycelia. Co-expression of ACE1 and RAP1 in A. oryzae produced an amide 8 which is similar to the PKS-NRPS derived backbone of the cytochalasans. Biological testing on rice leaves showed that neither the diols 6 and 7, nor amide 8 was responsible for the observed ACE1 mediated avirulence, however, gene cluster analysis suggests that the true avirulence signalling compound may be a tyrosine-derived cytochalasan compound.