The Evolution of the Satratoxin and Atranone Gene Clusters of Stachybotrys chartarum

J Fungi (Basel). 2022 Mar 24;8(4):340. doi: 10.3390/jof8040340.


Stachybotrys chartarum is frequently isolated from damp building materials or improperly stored animal forage. Human and animal exposure to the secondary metabolites of this mold is linked to severe health effects. The mutually exclusive production of either satratoxins or atranones defines the chemotypes A and S. Based upon the genes (satratoxin cluster, SC1-3, sat or atranone cluster, AC1, atr) that are supposed to be essential for satratoxin and atranone production, S. chartarum can furthermore be divided into three genotypes: the S-type possessing all sat- but no atr-genes, the A-type lacking the sat- but harboring all atr-genes, and the H-type having only certain sat- and all atr-genes. We analyzed the above-mentioned gene clusters and their flanking regions to shed light on the evolutionary relationship. Furthermore, we performed a deep re-sequencing and LC-MS/MS (Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry) analysis. We propose a first model for the evolution of the S. chartarum genotypes. We assume that genotype H represents the most ancient form. A loss of the AC1 and the concomitant acquisition of the SC2 led to the emergence of the genotype S. According to our model, the genotype H also developed towards genotype A, a process that was accompanied by a loss of SC1 and SC3.

Keywords: Stachybotrys; atranone; genome; macrocyclic trichothecene.