A new endogenous substance that induces asexual reproduction in phytopathogenic and toxin-producing fungi

May 17, 2018

Will lead to pesticide and antibiotic development

An international collaborative research team from Nagoya University, Zhejiang University and RIKEN CSRS have discovered an endogenous substance that induces asexual reproduction in Fusarium, a species of fungi that can be phytopathogenic. Fusarium species can also produce mycotoxins, which are dangerous to humans and animals. Controlling these fungi is therefore extremely important for maintaining human health by preventing infection of agricultural products with mycotoxins as well as mitigating damage to agricultural crops.

Fusarium reproduces by asexual reproduction, producing spores called conidia; however, the process of conidium formation is not yet well understood. Researchers were able to isolate 0.8 mg of a substance they named FARI (Fusarium Asexual Reproduction Inducer) from 200 liters of a Fusarium fungus culture solution and elucidated its chemical structure. They were also able to develop a chemical synthesis method for FARI and show that only one of its enantiomers was active and that it is responsible for conidia formation in many Fusarium species.

This research has made it possible to obtain a supply of the endogenous FARI through chemical synthesis, which will propel research into the molecular mechanisms on how it induces conidia formation leading to the development of substances capable of controlling Fusarium propagation.


Original article
Angewandte Chemie International Edition doi:10.1002/anie.201803329
J. Qi, L. Cheng, Y. Sun, Y. Hirata, N. Ushida, Z. Ma, H. Osada, T. Nishikawa, L. Xiang,
"Identification of an Asexual Reproduction Inducer of Phytopathogenic and Toxigenic Fusarium".

Hiroyuki Osada
Group Director
Chemical Biology Research Group