Discovery of fungal onoceroid triterpenoids through domainless enzyme-targeted global genome mining

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Nat Commun. 2024 May 21;15(1):4312. doi: 10.1038/s41467-024-48771-7.

ABSTRACT

Genomics-guided methodologies have revolutionized the discovery of natural products. However, a major challenge in the field of genome mining is determining how to selectively extract biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) for untapped natural products from numerous available genome sequences. In this study, we developed a fungal genome mining tool that extracts BGCs encoding enzymes that lack a detectable protein domain (i.e., domainless enzymes) and are not recognized as biosynthetic proteins by existing bioinformatic tools. We searched for BGCs encoding a homologue of Pyr4-family terpene cyclases, which are representative examples of apparently domainless enzymes, in approximately 2000 fungal genomes and discovered several BGCs with unique features. The subsequent characterization of selected BGCs led to the discovery of fungal onoceroid triterpenoids and unprecedented onoceroid synthases. Furthermore, in addition to the onoceroids, a previously unreported sesquiterpene hydroquinone, of which the biosynthesis involves a Pyr4-family terpene cyclase, was obtained. Our genome mining tool has broad applicability in fungal genome mining and can serve as a beneficial platform for accessing diverse, unexploited natural products.

PMID:38773118 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-024-48771-7