Nature Communications (2019) 3579 (Xu et al.)

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Yang Xu, Maria Vinas, Albatol Alsarrag, Ling Su, Katharina Pfohl, Marko Rohlfs, Wilhelm Schäfer, Wei Chen and Petr Karlovsky (2019)
Bis-naphthopyrone pigments protect filamentous ascomycetes from a wide range of predators
Nature Communications 10 (3579), 1-12
Abstract: It is thought that fungi protect themselves from predation by the production of compounds that are toxic to soil-dwelling animals. Here, we show that a nontoxic pigment, the bis-naphthopyrone aurofusarin, protects Fusarium fungi from a wide range of animal predators. We find that springtails (primitive hexapods), woodlice (crustaceans), and mealworms (insects) prefer feeding on fungi with disrupted aurofusarin synthesis, and mealworms and springtails are repelled by wheat flour amended with the fungal bis-naphthopyrones aurofusarin, viomellein, or xanthomegnin. Predation stimulates aurofusarin synthesis in several Fusarium species and viomellein synthesis in Aspergillus ochraceus. Aurofusarin displays low toxicity in mealworms, springtails, isopods, Drosophila, and insect cells, contradicting the common view that fungal defence metabolites are toxic. Our results indicate that bis-naphthopyrones are defence compounds that protect filamentous ascomycetes from predators through a mechanism that does not involve toxicity.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
(original language: English)
Link to article at publishers website

Database assignments for author(s): Petr Karlovsky

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
resistance/tolerance/defence of host
molecular biology - genes

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Fusarium culmorum
Fusarium graminearum
Aspergillus ochraceus