SUMMARY: A strain of which has consistently failed to elaborate ergot alkaloids when growing as a parasite, has been shown to perform only the first step of the ergoline biosynthetic pathway catalysed by dimethylallyltryptophan (DMAT) synthetase. The next step, involving -methylation of DMAT, did not operate. [C]Agroclavine and lysergic acid, normally intermediates in alkaloid biosynthesis, were accepted by parasitic sclerotial tissue as substrates and were metabolized to lysergic acid amide (LAA). This amide therefore constituted a previously unreported end product for It is concluded that the mutant has a metabolic block in the pathway following DMAT and, while enzymes for several subsequent steps are present, the fungus seems unable to form the usual cyclic tripeptide ergot alkaloids. The steps involved in metabolizing agroclavine to LAA were insensitive to 1 M-phosphate, while this concentration of phosphate completely inhibited DMAT synthetase. This double mutant therefore has unique potential for exploring control mechanisms in ergot alkaloid biosynthesis.


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