Cellular compartmentalization of secondary metabolism

H C Kistler, Karen Broz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Fungal secondary metabolism is often considered apart from the essential housekeeping functions of the cell. However, there are clear links between fundamental cellular metabolism and the biochemical pathways leading to secondary metabolite synthesis. Besides utilizing key biochemical precursors shared with the most essential processes of the cell (e.g., amino acids, acetyl CoA, NADPH), enzymes for secondary metabolite synthesis are compartmentalized at conserved subcellular sites that position pathway enzymes to use these common biochemical precursors. Co-compartmentalization of secondary metabolism pathway enzymes also may function to channel precursors, promote pathway efficiency and sequester pathway intermediates and products from the rest of the cell. In this review we discuss the compartmentalization of three well-studied fungal secondary metabolite biosynthetic pathways for penicillin G, aflatoxin and deoxynivalenol, and summarize evidence used to infer subcellular localization. We also discuss how these metabolites potentially are trafficked within the cell and may be exported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number68
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberFEB
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Kistler and Broz.


  • Aflatoxin
  • Deoxynivalenol
  • Mycotoxin
  • Non-ribosomal peptide
  • Penicillin
  • Polyketide
  • Terpene


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