Indole-diterpenes (IDTs) such as the aflatrems, janthitrems, lolitrems, paspalitrems, penitrems, shearinines, sulpinines, and terpendoles are biogenetically related but structurally varied tremorgenic and neurotoxic mycotoxins produced by fungi. All these metabolites derive from the biosynthetic intermediate paspaline, a frequently occurring IDT on its own right. In this comprehensive review, we highlight the similarities and differences of the IDT biosynthetic pathways that lead to the generation of the main paspaline-derived IDT subgroups. We survey the taxonomic distribution and the regulation of IDT production in various fungi and compare the organization of the known IDT biosynthetic gene clusters. A detailed assessment of the highly diverse biological activities of these mycotoxins leads us to emphasize the significant losses that paspaline-derived IDTs cause in agriculture, and compels us to warn about the various hazards they represent towards human and livestock health. Conversely, we also describe the potential utility of these versatile molecules as lead compounds for pharmaceutical drug discovery, and examine the prospects for their industrial scale manufacture in genetically manipulated IDT producers or domesticated host microorganisms in synthetic biological production systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology