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]

2 thoughts on “Amanita toxin genes”

  1. So sorry about the “science by press release” that you complain of – I’m not thrilled about it, either, but that’s the way PNAS works. In the case of this paper, they notified us last week that they were publishing at some time this week. They placed the paper on a “journalists only” site last Wednesday, with an embargo which was lifted Monday at 5:00. Aside from our own institution, Michigan State University, we have had no knowledge of the press releases until we chance upon them. (On the plus side, I am very gratified by the amount of interest this work seems to have generated. Hopefully everybody’s curiosity will be satisfied in the next day or two.)

    Heather Hallen

  2. I was complaining about this very thing a few days ago. It is indeed a very interesting paper, and I’m sure PNAS will get around to publishing it one of these days, hopefully before I retire.

    In the meanwhile, I hadn’t known of this blog previously and am glad to learn of its existence now. I’ll certainly be reading!

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