Many biocontrol fluorescent pseudomonads can protect plants from soilborne fungal pathogens through production of the antifungal secondary metabolite 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol (Phl), One of the phl biosynthetic genes, phlD, encodes a polyketide synthase similar to plant chalcone syntheses. Here, restriction analysis of phlD from 39 Phl(+) biocontrol fluorescent pseudomonads yielded seven different banding patterns. The gene was sequenced in seven strains, representing the different restriction patterns. Cluster analysis of phlD restriction data or phlD sequences indicated that phlD polymorphism was high, and two main clusters were obtained when predicted PhlD sequences were compared. When the seven PhlD sequences were studied with those of other procaryotic polyketide syntheses (gram-positive bacteria) and plant chalcone syntheses, however, Phl+ pseudomonads, grampositive bacteria, and plants clustered separately. Yet, sequence analysis of active site regions for PhlD and plant chalcone synthases revealed that PhlD can be considered a member of the chalcone synthase family, which may be interpreted as convergent evolution of key enzymes involved in secondary metabolism. For the 39 PhlD pseudomonads, a relationship was found among phlD restriction patterns, phylogenetic groups defined by 16S rDNA restriction analysis (confirmed by 16S rDNA sequencing), and production levels of Phl in vitro.
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