Intact-cell MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry analysis of peptaibol formation by the genus Trichoderma/Hypocrea: can molecular phylogeny of species predict peptaibol structures?

Microbiology (Reading). 2007 Oct;153(Pt 10):3417-3437. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.2007/006692-0.


Peptaibols are characteristic linear alpha-aminoisobutyrate-containing peptides produced by certain Ascomycetes, especially of the genus Hypocrea/Trichoderma [Hypocrea and Trichoderma are the names for the teleo- and anamorph forms of the same taxon; where known to occur in nature, the teleomorph is used to name the species. To aid the inexperienced reader, both names (the less well known one in parentheses) are given at the first mention of each species.] Here we have investigated whether phylogenetic relationships within Trichoderma permit a prediction of the peptaibol production profiles. To this end, representative strains from a third (28) of the known species of Trichoderma, identified by the sequences of diagnostic genes and covering most clades of the established multilocus phylogeny of Trichoderma/Hypocrea, were investigated by intact-cell MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Peptaibols were detected in all strains, and some strains were found to produce up to five peptide families of different sizes. Comparison of the data with phylogenies derived from rRNA spacer regions (ITS1 and 2) and RNA polymerase subunit B (rpb2) gene sequences did not show a strict correlation with the types and sequences of the peptaibols produced, but the production of some groups of peptaibols appears to be found only in some clades or sections of the genus, which could be used for more targeted screening of novel compounds of this type. In an analysis of peptaibol structures, we have defined conserved key positions and have further identified and compared sequences of the corresponding adenylate domains within non-ribosomal peptide synthetases producing trichovirins, paracelsins and atroviridins. These phylogenies are not concordant with those of their producers Hypocrea virens, Hypocrea jecorina and Hypocrea atroviridis as obtained from ITS1 and 2, and rpb2, respectively, and therefore hint at a complex history of peptaibol diversity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / analysis*
  • Hypocrea / chemistry*
  • Hypocrea / classification*
  • Hypocrea / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*
  • Statistics as Topic


  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer
  • Fungal Proteins