Induction of Isochromanones by Co-Cultivation of the Marine Fungus Cosmospora sp. and the Phytopathogen Magnaporthe oryzae

Microbial co-cultivation is a promising approach for the activation of biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that remain transcriptionally silent under artificial culture conditions. As part of our project aiming at the discovery of marine-derived fungal agrochemicals, we previously used four phytopathogens as model competitors in the co-cultivation of 21 marine fungal strains. Based on comparative untargeted metabolomics analyses and anti-phytopathogenic activities of the co-cultures, we selected the co-culture of marine Cosmospora sp. with the phytopathogen Magnaporthe oryzae for in-depth chemical studies. UPLC-MS/MS-based molecular networking (MN) of the co-culture extract revealed an enhanced diversity of compounds in several molecular families, including isochromanones, specifically induced in the co-culture. Large scale co-cultivation of Cosmospora sp. and M. oryzae resulted in the isolation of five isochromanones from the whole co-culture extract, namely the known soudanones A, E, D (1-3) and their two new derivatives, soudanones H-I (4-5), the known isochromans, pseudoanguillosporins A and B (6, 7), naphtho-γ-pyrones, cephalochromin and ustilaginoidin G (8, 9), and ergosterol (10). Their structures were established by NMR, HR-ESIMS, FT-IR, electronic circular dichroism (ECD) spectroscopy, polarimetry ([α]D), and Mosher's ester reaction. Bioactivity assays revealed antimicrobial activity of compounds 2 and 3 against the phytopathogens M. oryzae and Phytophthora infestans, while pseudoanguillosporin A (6) showed the broadest and strongest anti-phytopathogenic activity against Pseudomonas syringae, Xanthomonas campestris, M. oryzae and P. infestans. This is the first study assessing the anti-phytopathogenic activities of soudanones.


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