Gibberellin biosynthesis in Gibberella fujikuroi: cloning and characterization of the copalyl diphosphate synthase gene
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The gene coding for copalyl diphosphate synthase (CPS), which represents the first gene of the gibberellin pathway, was isolated from the rice pathogen Gibberella fujikuroi. This fungus is used commercially for the production of gibberellic acid and related gibberellins. CPS is a terpene cyclase which catalyzes the first specific step of the gibberellin (GA) pathway as it branches off from the general isoprenoid (biosynthetic) pathway at geranylgeranyl disphosphate (GGDP). A cDNA fragment of the cps gene from the fungus G. fujikuroi was amplified by RT-PCR using oligonucleotides based on amino-acid sequences which were conserved between the plant CPSs and the bifunctional CPS/KS of the fungus Phaeosphaeria sp. L487. A 588-bp fragment obtained with nested PCR was used to isolate the corresponding genomic clone of the cps gene from the wild-type λ-library. This gene consists of three exons and two introns. The three exons are 2877 bp long and encode 959 amino-acid residues. The protein shares 48% identity with the bifunctional Phaeosphaeria sp. L487 FCPS and between 16% and 18% identity to the corresponding plant CPSs. Expression of the G. fujikuroi cps gene is strongly enhanced under conditions optimized for gibberellin biosynthesis and is reduced when high amounts of ammonium are present in the medium. Gene disruption, followed by gibberellin assays and Southern-blot analysis of the transformants, demonstrated clearly that the cloned gene has the expected function in the biosynthesis of fungal gibberellins.
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