O-Methylation steps during strobilurin and bolineol biosynthesis†
Strobilurins are potent antifungal polyketides produced by basidiomycete fungi. Two genes encoding O-methyltransferases (O-MeT) are present in the biosynthetic gene cluster of strobilurin A 1. In previous studies, the two O-MeT enzymes Str2 and Str3 were found to catalyse the final steps of the biosynthesis of 1. Here, we show by in vivo expression experiments, that O-methylation during strobilurin biosynthesis is regiospecific. O-MeT Str2 acts first and selectively catalyses the methylation of the carboxyl group of strobilurin and bolineol precursors. Str3 catalyses the subsequent methyl transfer to the enol group to form strobilurin A 1, but cannot methylate bolineol 4. Toxicity tests showed increasing antifungal activity of intermediates through the pathway and that bolineol 4 shows antifungal activity against A. oryzae NSAR1 with an MIC of 0.1 mg ml−1.