The zygomycete Blakeslea trispora is used commercially as natural source of â-carotene. Trisporic acid (TA) is secreted from the mycelium of B. trispora during mating between heterothallic strains and is considered as a mediator of the regulation of mating processes and an enhancer of carotene biosynthesis. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and multivariate analysis were employed to investigate TA-associated intracellular biochemical changes in B. trispora. By principal component analysis, the differential metabolites discriminating the control groups from the TA-treated groups were found, which were also confirmed by the subsequent hierarchical cluster analysis. The results indicate that TA is a global regulator and its main effects at the metabolic level are reflected on the content changes in several fatty acids, carbohydrates, and amino acids. The carbon metabolism and fatty acids synthesis are sensitive to TA addition. Glycerol, glutamine, and ã-aminobutyrate might play important roles in the regulation of TA. Complemented by two-dimensional electrophoresis, the results indicate that the actions of TA at the metabolic level involve multiple metabolic processes, such as glycolysis and the bypass of the classical tricarboxylic acid cycle. These results reveal that the metabolomics strategy is a powerful tool to gain insight into the mechanism of a microorganism's cellular response to signal inducers at the metabolic level.
The article is published online in the journal PLoS ONE and is free to access.