Exploring Biosynthetic Gene Clusters in Lichens: Insights into Secondary Metabolites Evolution

ID: 613 / 419

Category: Abstract

Track: Pending

Proposed Symposium Title: Exploring Biosynthetic Gene Clusters in Lichens: Insights into Secondary Metabolites Evolution


David Pizarro 1, Pradeep K. Divakar 1, Thorsten H. Lumbsch 2

Affiliations: 1 Department of Pharmacology, Pharmacognosy and Botany, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain 2 Collections, Conservation, and Research Division, Field Museum of Chicago, Illinois, USA


Lichens, symbiotic organisms comprising fungi and photosynthetic partners, are known for
their diverse array of secondary metabolites with pharmaceutical, ecological, and adaptive
significance. The biosynthetic pathways responsible for these compounds are encoded
within biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). In this study, we investigate the evolutionary
processes shaping BGCs in lichens, focusing on the genetic mechanisms driving secondary
metabolite diversification, particularly in cortical secondary metabolites such as usnic acid
and atranorin, and a medullary substance as fumarprotocetraric acid. Advances in genomics
and bioinformatics have provided a deeper understanding of the diversity and organization of
BGCs across lichen-forming fungi. Comparative analyses reveal that BGCs have undergone
dynamic evolutionary processes, including gene gain, loss and rearrangements.
Furthermore, environmental and ecological pressures may have influenced the evolution of
BGCs, shaping the secondary metabolite profiles, including those in the cortex of lichens.
Insights into BGC evolution enhance our knowledge of lichen secondary metabolism and its
adaptation to various habitats, paving the way for potential applications in biotechnology and
environmental sciences.

Symposia selection: 143, ,

Key words: lichen-forming fungi, Biosynthetic Genes Cluster, Usnic Acid, Atranorin, Secondary Metabolites