Venue: Room N12 (E-Building, 3rd floor)
Specialized metabolites, also known as natural products, are the major way of interactions in the world of microorganisms. As the concept of chemical ecology has risen, the detailed roles and mechanisms of specialized metabolites are drawing the interest of researchers. However, the chemical complexity of specialized metabolome makes it difficult to be investigated. Recent advances in mass spectrometry enabled us to observe thousands of molecules in samples in a short time, but the chemical diversity of natural products makes another bottleneck in untargeted metabolomics projects on specialized metabolites: the structural identification of molecules from the mass spectra. Fortunately, advances in data interpretation followed the advances of spectrometers; advances such as spectral similarity networking, The Mass Spec Query Language, and in silico annotation approaches have been useful solutions, especially to natural product chemists.
Here I will introduce two recent cases of successful application of mass spectrometry-based metabolomics for the observation of fungal metabolism in our lab. In the first case, we applied metabolomics analysis to observe intra- and inter-kingdom interaction of Penicillium spp. isolated from marine environments. We could annotate multiple molecular families up-regulated or down-regulated by cocultivations. Multiple interesting hypotheses could be made based on the result, but here, our hypothesis on siderophore-mediated inhibition of the competitor’s specialized metabolism will be highlighted. As a second case, I will introduce our recent discovery of a previously unknown UDP-glycosyltransferase, designated UGT66A1, which is an enzyme catalyzing O-xylosylation on many different structural scaffolds having phenolic -OH groups. This discovery was driven by metabolomics-based phenotyping on biotransformation of phytochemicals by wood-decaying fungi.