Amanita toxin genes

A. bisporigeraMichigan State researchers Heather Hallen and Jonathan Walton have reportedly cloned genes from Amanita for alpha-amanitin (mispelled as alpha-aminitin in NYTimes article) which inhibits RNA polymerase II and phallacidin which inhibits actin filament polymerization. The gene sequences are in GenBank for those itching to look at evolutionary relationships of these genes in other fungi.

This is unfortunately another annoying example of science-by-press release where the PNAS publication is not available but the press release and NYtimes article are, but that shouldn’t take aware from a cool result. We also had to wait a week after the dandruff genome announcement to read that paper, I hope the PNAS press-release publication-release timeline gets synchronized soon…

Update: Gene family encoding the major toxins of lethal Amanita mushrooms manuscript is available now.

A writeup about the A. bisporigera “destroying angel” shown here can be read at the Cornell Mushroom blog and the deadly consequences of ingesting it.

[Thanks ShannonS via FredS]