Fumonisins are toxins associated with several mycotoxicoses and are produced by the maize pathogen Gibberella fujikuroi mating population A (MP-A). Biochemical analyses indicate that fumonisins are a product of either polyketide or fatty acid biosynthesis. To isolate a putative polyketide synthase (PKS) gene involved in fumonisin biosynthesis, we employed PCR with degenerate PKS primers and a cDNA template prepared from a fumonisin-producing culture of G. fujikuroi. Sequence analysis of the single PCR product and its flanking DNA revealed a gene (FUM5) with a 7.8-kb coding region. The predicted FUM5 translation product was highly similar to bacterial and fungal Type I PKSs. Transformation of a cosmid clone carrying FUM5 into G. fujikuroi enhanced production in three strains and restored wild-type production in a fumonisin nonproducing mutant. Disruption of FUM5 reduced fumonisin production by over 99% in G. fujikuroi MP-A. Together, these results indicate that FUM5 is a PKS gene required for fumonisin biosynthesis.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.