The ubiquitous filamentous fungus Fusarium graminearum causes the important disease Fusarium head blight on various species of cereals, leading to contamination of grains with mycotoxins. In a survey of F.graminearum (sensu stricto) on wheat in North America several novel strains were isolated, which produced none of the known trichothecene mycotoxins despite causing normal disease symptoms. In rice cultures, a new trichothecene mycotoxin (named NX-2) was characterized by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Nuclear magnetic resonance measurements identified NX-2 as 3α-acetoxy-7α,15-dihydroxy-12,13-epoxytrichothec-9-ene. Compared with the well-known 3-acetyl-deoxynivalenol (3-ADON), it lacks the keto group at C-8 and hence is a type A trichothecene. Wheat ears inoculated with the isolated strains revealed a 10-fold higher contamination with its deacetylated form, named NX-3, (up to 540mgkg-1) compared with NX-2. The toxicities of the novel mycotoxins were evaluated utilizing two in vitro translation assays and the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. NX-3 inhibits protein biosynthesis to almost the same extent as the prominent mycotoxin deoxynivalenol, while NX-2 is far less toxic, similar to 3-ADON. Genetic analysis revealed a different TRI1 allele in the N-isolates, which was verified to be responsible for the difference in hydroxylation at C-8.
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