The important disease Ramularia leaf spot of barley is caused by the fungus Ramularia collo-cygni. The disease causes yield and quality losses as a result of a decrease in photosynthesis efficiency due to the appearance of necrotic spots on the leaf surface. The development of these typical Ramularia leaf spot symptoms is thought to be linked with the release of phytotoxic secondary metabolites called rubellins in the host. However, to date, neither the biosynthetic pathways leading to the production of these metabolites nor their exact role in disease development are known. Using a combined in silico genetic and biochemistry approach, we interrogated the genome of R. collo-cygni to identify a putative rubellin biosynthetic gene cluster. Here we report the identification of a gene cluster containing homologues of genes involved in the biosynthesis of related anthraquinone metabolites in closely related fungi. A putative pathway to rubellin biosynthesis involving the genes located on the candidate cluster is also proposed.
- Anthraquinone biosynthesis
- Baeyer–Villiger monooxygenase
- Polyketide synthase
- Ra-mularia collo-cygni
- Secondary metabolite