Phytophthora cinnamomi, a member of the Pythiacease, does not synthesize sterols. Small amounts of squalene, but no squalene epoxide or sterol, were isolated from the dried mycelium of this fungus after growth in sterol-free medium. The dried mycelium of Rhizoctonia solani, a sterol-synthesizing fungus grown under the same conditions, contained small amounts of squalene and squalene epoxide and large amounts of ergosterol. When the two organisms were grown in the presence of [14C]acetate, only labelled geraniol, farnesol and squalene were recovered from the P. cinnamomi mycelium, whereas labelled geraniol, farnesol, squalene, squalene epoxide and ergosterol were recovered from the R. solani mycelium. Similar results were obtained when the organisms were incubated in the presence of [2(-14)C]mevalonate; in this case, labelled lanosterol was also detected in the R. solani mycelium. Both organisms, when incubated in the presence of unlabelled squalene, squalene epoxide or lanosterol, incorporated these compounds into their mycelia; however, only the R. solani mycelium was able to convert these substrates into products further along the sterol pathway. It appears that squalene is the terminal compound in the sterol biosynthetic pathway of P. cinnamomi.

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