Davis-Michael Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences
Assistant Director of Graduate Programs
My students and I use molecular genetic, chemical, and biological approaches to study the biosynthesis and significance of a group of fungal toxins called ergot alkaloids. Ergot alkaloids are important in agriculture, where they contaminate pasture grasses, and in medicine, where they serve as the bases for pharmaceuticals used to treat dementia, migraines, and other issues. We study how ergot alkaloids are made by using genetic manipulations and chemical analyses to understand the roles of individual genes and reconstruct pathways. We also study why the alkaloids are made by comparing the genetic mutants we construct to their alkaloid-producing parent strains in various biological assays. Our research has resulted in modification of the ergot alkaloid content of fungi associated with pasture grasses and engineering of model fungi to produce pharmaceutically important chemicals.
- Panaccione, D.G. and Arnold, S.L. 2017. Ergot alkaloids contribute to virulence in an insect model of invasive aspergillosis. Scientific Reports 7:8390.
- Arnold, S.L. and Panaccione, D.G. 2017. Biosynthesis of the pharmaceutically important fungal ergot alkaloid dihydrolysergic acid requires a specialized allele of cloA. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 83:e00805-17.
- Bilovol, Y., and Panaccione, D.G. 2016. Functional analysis of the gene controlling hydroxylation of festuclavine in the ergot alkaloid pathway of Neosartorya fumigata. Current Genetics 62:853-860.
- Robinson, S.L., and Panaccione, D.G. 2014. Heterologous expression of lysergic acid and novel ergot alkaloids in Aspergillus fumigatus. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 80:6465-6472.