Multiple degrees of separation in the central pathways of the catabolism of aromatic compounds in fungi belonging to the Dikarya sub-Kingdom

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The diversity and abundance of aromatic compounds in nature is crucial for proper metabolism in all biological systems, and also impacts greatly the development of many industrial processes. Naturally, understanding their catabolism becomes fundamental for many scientific fields of research, from clinical and environmental to technological. The genetic basis of the central pathways for the catabolism of aromatic compounds in fungi, particularly of benzene derivatives, remains however poorly understood largely overlooking their significance. In some Dikarya species the genes of the central pathways are clustered in the genome, often in an array with peripheral pathway genes, even if the existence of a specific pathway does not necessarily mean that the composing genes are clustered. The current availability of many annotated fungal genomes in the postgenomic era creates conditions to reach a more holistic view of these processes through target analysis of the central pathways gene clusters. Inspired by this, we have critically analyzed the established biochemical and genetic data on the catabolism of aromatic compounds in Dikarya after dissecting the presence and distribution of central catabolic gene clusters (at times including also details on gene diversity, order and orientation) and of peripheral genes. Our methodological approach illustrates the multiple degrees of separation in these central pathways gene clusters across Dikarya. Surprisingly, they show a great degree of similarity irrespectively of the Dikarya division, emphasizing that knowledge established on either phyla can guide the identification of clusters of comparable composition (in-cluster plus peripheral genes) in uncharacterized species.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Microbial Physiology
EditorsRobert K. Poole
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9780128177143
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in Microbial Physiology
ISSN (Print)0065-2911


  • 3-Oxoadipate
  • Aromatic compounds
  • Ascomycota
  • Basidiomycota
  • Catechol
  • Central intermediates for the catabolism of aromatic compounds in fungi
  • Fungal genomes
  • Gene clusters
  • Gentizate
  • Hydroxyquinol
  • Protocatechuate


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