Background: Alternaria sp. MG1, an endophytic fungus isolated from grape, is a native producer of resveratrol, which has important application potential. However, the metabolic characteristics and physiological behavior of MG1 still remains mostly unraveled. In addition, the resveratrol production of the strain is low. Thus, the whole-genome sequencing is highly required for elucidating the resveratrol biosynthesis pathway. Furthermore, the metabolic network model of MG1 was constructed to provide a computational guided approach for improving the yield of resveratrol.
Results: Firstly, a draft genomic sequence of MG1 was generated with a size of 34.7 Mbp and a GC content of 50.96%. Genome annotation indicated that MG1 possessed complete biosynthesis pathways for stilbenoids, flavonoids, and lignins. Eight secondary metabolites involved in these pathways were detected by GC-MS analysis, confirming the metabolic diversity of MG1. Furthermore, the first genome-scale metabolic network of Alternaria sp. MG1 (named iYL1539) was reconstructed, accounting for 1539 genes, 2231 metabolites, and 2255 reactions. The model was validated qualitatively and quantitatively by comparing the in silico simulation with experimental data, and the results showed a high consistency. In iYL1539, 56 genes were identified as growth essential in rich medium. According to constraint-based analysis, the importance of cofactors for the resveratrol biosynthesis was successfully demonstrated. Ethanol addition was predicted in silico to be an effective method to improve resveratrol production by strengthening acetyl-CoA synthesis and pentose phosphate pathway, and was verified experimentally with a 26.31% increase of resveratrol. Finally, 6 genes were identified as potential targets for resveratrol over-production by the recently developed methodology. The target-genes were validated using salicylic acid as elicitor, leading to an increase of resveratrol yield by 33.32% and the expression of gene 4CL and CHS by 1.8- and 1.6-fold, respectively.
Conclusions: This study details the diverse capability and key genes of Alternaria sp. MG1 to produce multiple secondary metabolites. The first model of the species Alternaria was constructed, providing an overall understanding of the physiological behavior and metabolic characteristics of MG1. The model is a highly useful tool for enhancing productivity by rational design of the metabolic pathway for resveratrol and other secondary metabolites.
Keywords: Alternaria sp. MG1; Constraints-based flux analysis; Genome-scale metabolic model; Resveratrol; Secondary metabolites.