Nine biological species, or mating populations (MPs), denoted by letters A to I, and at least 29 anamorphic Fusarium species have been identified within the Gibberella fujikuroi species complex. Members of this species complex are the only species of the genus Fusarium that contain the gibberellin (GA) biosynthetic gene cluster or at least parts of it. However, the ability of fusaria to produce GAs is so far restricted to Fusarium fujikuroi, although at least six other MPs contain all the genes of the GA biosynthetic gene cluster. Members of Fusarium proliferatum, the closest related species, have lost the ability to produce GAs as a result of the accumulation of several mutations in the coding and 5' noncoding regions of genes P450-4 and P450-1, both encoding cytochrome P450 monooxygenases, resulting in metabolic blocks at the early stages of GA biosynthesis. In this study, we have determined additional enzymatic blocks at the first specific steps in the GA biosynthesis pathway of F. proliferatum: the synthesis of geranylgeranyl diphosphate and the synthesis of ent-kaurene. Complementation of these enzymatic blocks by transferring the corresponding genes from GA-producing F. fujikuroi to F. proliferatum resulted in the restoration of GA production. We discuss the reasons for Fusarium species outside the G. fujikuroi species complex having no GA biosynthetic genes, whereas species distantly related to Fusarium, e.g., Sphaceloma spp. and Phaeosphaeria spp., produce GAs.
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