The ergot alkaloid gene cluster in Claviceps purpurea: Extension of the cluster sequence and intra species evolution

Thomas Haarmann, Caroline Machado, Yvonne Lübbe, Telmo Correia, Christopher L. Schardl, Daniel G. Panaccione, Paul Tudzynski

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101 Scopus citations


The genomic region of Claviceps purpurea strain P1 containing the ergot alkaloid gene cluster [Tudzynski, P., Hölter, K., Correia, T., Arntz, C., Grammel, N., Keller, U., 1999. Evidence for an ergot alkaloid gene cluster in Claviceps purpurea. Mol. Gen. Genet. 261, 133-141] was explored by chromosome walking, and additional genes probably involved in the ergot alkaloid biosynthesis have been identified. The putative cluster sequence (extending over 68.5 kb) contains 4 different nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) genes and several putative oxidases. Northern analysis showed that most of the genes were co-regulated (repressed by high phosphate), and identified probable flanking genes by lack of co-regulation. Comparison of the cluster sequences of strain P1, an ergotamine producer, with that of strain ECC93, an ergocristine producer, showed high conservation of most of the cluster genes, but significant variation in the NRPS modules, strongly suggesting that evolution of these chemical races of C. purpurea is determined by evolution of NRPS module specificity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1312-1320
Number of pages9
Issue number11 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Jun 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Tu 50/13, SPP 1152: Evolution of metabolic diversity, to P.T.) and the United States Department of Agriculture (2001-35319-10930 and 58-6401-2-0025 to D.G.P. and C.L.S.). We thank N. Lorenz for discussion and for support in the northern analyses, and U. Keller (Berlin) for providing us with unpublished data.


  • Chemical races
  • Claviceps purpurea
  • Ergocristine
  • Ergot alkaloids
  • Ergot fungus
  • Ergotamine
  • Gene cluster
  • Nonribosomal peptide synthetases
  • Phosphate effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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