The aim of this work was to modify the cell surface properties of Saccharomyces cerevisiae by expression of the HFBI hydrophobin of the filamentous fungus Trichoderma reesei on the yeast cell surface. The second aim was to study the immobilization capacity of the modified cells. Fusion to the Flo1p flocculin was used to target the HFBI moiety to the cell wall. Determination of cell surface characteristics with contact angle and zeta potential measurements indicated that HFBI-producing cells are more apolar and slightly less negatively charged than the parent cells. Adsorption of the yeast cells to different commercial supports was studied. A twofold increase in the binding affinity of the hydrophobin-producing yeast to hydrophobic silicone-based materials was observed, while no improvement in the interaction with hydrophilic carriers could be seen compared to that of the parent cells. Hydrophobic interactions between the yeast cells and the support are suggested to play a major role in attachment. Also, a slight increase in the initial adsorption rate of the hydrophobin yeast was observed. Furthermore, due to the engineered cell surface, hydrophobin-producing yeast cells were efficiently separated in an aqueous two-phase system by using a nonionic polyoxyethylene detergent, C12-18EO5.
Protein crystallization is a slow process of trial and error and limits the amount of solved protein structures. Search of a universal heterogeneous nucleant is an effort to facilitate crystallizability of proteins.
The effect of polystyrene nanospheres on protein crystallization were tested with three commercial proteins: lysozyme, xylanase, xylose isomerase, and with five research target proteins: hydrophobins HFBI and HFBII, laccase, sarcosine dimethylglycine N-methyltransferase (SDMT), and anti-testosterone Fab fragment 5F2. The use of nanospheres both in screening and as an additive for known crystallization conditions was studied. In screening, the addition of an aqueous solution of nanosphere to the crystallization drop had a significant positive effect on crystallization success in comparison to the control screen. As an additive in hydrophobin crystallization, the nanospheres altered the crystal packing, most likely due to the amphiphilic nature of hydrophobins. In the case of laccase, nanospheres could be used as an alternative for streak-seeding, which insofar had remained the only technique to produce high-diffracting crystals. With methyltransferase SDMT the nanospheres, used also as an additive, produced fewer, larger crystals in less time. Nanospheres, combined with the streak-seeding method, produced single 5F2 Fab crystals in shorter equilibration times.
All in all, the use of nanospheres in protein crystallization proved to be beneficial, both when screening new crystallization conditions to promote nucleation and when used as an additive to produce better quality crystals, faster. The polystyrene nanospheres are easy to use, commercially available and close to being inert, as even with amphiphilic proteins only the crystal packing is altered and the nanospheres do not interfere with the structure and function of the protein.
Hydrophobins are small, cysteine rich, surface active proteins secreted by filamentous fungi, forming hydrophobic layers on the walls of aerial mycelia and spores. Hydrophobin mutants in a variety of fungi have been described to show 'easily wettable' phenotypes, indicating that hydrophobins play a general role in conferring surface hydrophobicity to aerial hyphae and spores.
In the genome of the grey mould fungus Botrytis cinerea, genes encoding three hydrophobins and six hydrophobin-like proteins were identified. Expression analyses revealed low or no expression of these genes in conidia, while some of them showed increased or specific expression in other stages, such as sclerotia or fruiting bodies. Bhp1 belongs to the class I hydrophobins, whereas Bhp2 and Bhp3 are members of hydrophobin class II. Single, double and triple hydrophobin knock-out mutants were constructed by consecutively deleting bhp1, bhp2 and bhp3. In addition, a mutant in the hydrophobin-like gene bhl1 was generated. The mutants were tested for germination and growth under different conditions, formation of sclerotia, ability to penetrate and infect host tissue, and for spore and mycelium surface properties. Surprisingly, none of the B. cinerea hydrophobin mutants showed obvious phenotypic defects in any of these characters. Scanning electron microscopy of the hydrophobic conidial surfaces did not reveal evidence for the presence of typical hydrophobin 'rodlet' layers.
These data provide evidence that in B. cinerea, hydrophobins are not involved in conferring surface hydrophobicity to conidia and aerial hyphae, and challenge their universal role in filamentous fungi. The function of some of these proteins in sclerotia and fruiting bodies remains to be investigated.
Novel supramolecular coatings that make use of low molecular weight ditopic monomers with guanine end groups are studied using fluid tapping AFM. These molecules assemble on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) from aqueous solutions to form nano-sized banding structures whose sizes can be systematically tuned at the nano-scale by tailoring the molecular structure of the monomers. The nature of the self-assembly in these systems has been studied through a combination of the self-assembly of structural derivatives and molecular modeling. Furthermore, we introduce the concept of using these molecular assemblies as scaffolds to organize functional groups on the surface. As a first demonstrationof this concept, scaffold monomers that contain a monomethyl triethyleneglycol branch were used to organize these “functional” units on a HOPG surface. These supramolecular grafted assemblies have been shown to be stable in biologically-relevant environments and even have the ability to significantly reduce static platelet adhesion.
nanopattern; nanotechnology; surface assembly; supramolecular polymerization; surface thrombosis; biomaterial coating
Ionic-complementary peptides are novel nano-biomaterials with a variety of biomedical applications including potential biosurface engineering. This study presents evidence that a model ionic-complementary peptide EAK16-II is capable of assembling/coating on hydrophilic mica as well as hydrophobic highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) surfaces with different nano-patterns. EAK16-II forms randomly oriented nanofibers or nanofiber networks on mica, while ordered nanofibers parallel or oriented 60° or 120° to each other on HOPG, reflecting the crystallographic symmetry of graphite (0001). The density of coated nanofibers on both surfaces can be controlled by adjusting the peptide concentration and the contact time of the peptide solution with the surface. The coated EAK16-II nanofibers alter the wettability of the two surfaces differently: the water contact angle of bare mica surface is measured to be <10°, while it increases to 20.3±2.9° upon 2 h modification of the surface using a 29 µM EAK16-II solution. In contrast, the water contact angle decreases significantly from 71.2±11.1° to 39.4±4.3° after the HOPG surface is coated with a 29 µM peptide solution for 2 h. The stability of the EAK16-II nanofibers on both surfaces is further evaluated by immersing the surface into acidic and basic solutions and analyzing the changes in the nanofiber surface coverage. The EAK16-II nanofibers on mica remain stable in acidic solution but not in alkaline solution, while they are stable on the HOPG surface regardless of the solution pH. This work demonstrates the possibility of using self-assembling peptides for surface modification applications.
Hydrophobins are proteins containing eight conserved cysteine residues that occur uniquely in mycelial fungi. Their main function is to confer hydrophobicity to fungal surfaces in contact with air or during attachment of hyphae to hydrophobic surfaces of hosts, symbiotic partners or themselves resulting in morphogenetic signals. Based on their hydropathy patterns and solubility characteristics, hydrophobins are divided into two classes (I and II), the latter being found only in ascomycetes.
We have investigated the mechanisms driving the evolution of the class II hydrophobins in nine species of the mycoparasitic ascomycetous genus Trichoderma/Hypocrea, using three draft sequenced genomes (H. jecorina = T. reesei, H. atroviridis = T. atroviride; H. virens = T. virens) an additional 14,000 ESTs from six other Trichoderma spp. (T. asperellum, H. lixii = T. harzianum, T. aggressivum var. europeae, T. longibrachiatum, T. cf. viride). The former three contained six, ten and nine members, respectively. Ten is the highest number found in any ascomycete so far. All the hydrophobins we examined had the conserved four beta-strands/one helix structure, which is stabilized by four disulfide bonds. In addition, a small number of these hydrophobins (HFBs)contained an extended N-terminus rich in either proline and aspartate, or glycine-asparagine. Phylogenetic analysis reveals a mosaic of terminal clades containing duplicated genes and shows only three reasonably supported clades. Calculation of the ratio of differences in synonymous vs. non-synonymous nucleotide substitutions provides evidence for strong purifying selection (KS/Ka >> 1). A genome database search for class II HFBs from other ascomycetes retrieved a much smaller number of hydrophobins (2–4) from each species, and most were from Sordariomycetes. A combined phylogeny of these sequences with those of Trichoderma showed that the Trichoderma HFBs mostly formed their own clades, whereas those of other Sordariomycetes occurred in shared clades.
Our study shows that the genus Trichoderma/Hypocrea has a proliferated arsenal of class II hydrophobins which arose by birth-and-death evolution followed by purifying selection.
By combining several surface analytical tools, we show that an adsorbed layer of the protein H*Protein B prevents the adsorption of secondary proteins bovine serum albumin, casein, or collagen at low-salinity conditions and at pH 8. H*Protein B is an industrially producible fusion protein of the hydrophobin family, known for its high interfacial activity. While applications of hydrophobin have been reported to facilitate adhesion of proteins under different pH conditions, careful analysis by quartz-crystal microbalance and ellipsometry prove that no additional adsorption can be found on top of the H*Protein B layer in this study. Surface analysis by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and secondary ion mass spectrometry proves that the hydrophobin layer stays intact even after hours of exposure to solutions of the secondary proteins and that no exchange of proteins can be detected.
Fig. 1The combination of surface analytical methods shows that an adsorbed layer of H*Protein B, a technically available representative of the hydrophobin family, prevents adsorption of secondary proteins at low-salinity conditions and pH 8. Due to the multi-method approach it can be proven that no exchange of the adsorbed hydrophobin protein is taking place
Hydrophobin; Protein adsorption; Secondary ion mass spectrometry; Quartz-crystal microbalance; X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
We report on the characterization of various salts of [MnIII6CrIII]3+ complexes prepared on substrates such as highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG), mica, SiO2, and Si3N4. [MnIII6CrIII]3+ is a single-molecule magnet, i.e., a superparamagnetic molecule, with a blocking temperature around 2 K. The three positive charges of [MnIII6CrIII]3+ were electrically neutralized by use of various anions such as tetraphenylborate (BPh4-), lactate (C3H5O3-), or perchlorate (ClO4-). The molecule was prepared on the substrates out of solution using the droplet technique. The main subject of investigation was how the anions and substrates influence the emerging surface topology during and after the preparation. Regarding HOPG and SiO2, flat island-like and hemispheric-shaped structures were created. We observed a strong correlation between the electronic properties of the substrate and the analyzed structures, especially in the case of mica where we observed a gradient in the analyzed structures across the surface.
We have investigated the emission properties of N,N'-diheptyl-3,4,9,10-perylenetetracarboxylic diimide thin films by the tunneling-electron-induced light emission technique. A fluorescence peak with vibronic progressions with large Stokes shifts was observed on both highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) and Au substrates, indicating that the emission was derived from the isolated-molecule-like film condition with sufficient π-π interaction of the perylene rings of perylenetetracarboxylic diimide molecules. The upconversion emission mechanism of the tunneling-electron-induced emission was discussed in terms of inelastic tunneling including multiexcitation processes. The wavelength-selective enhanced emission due to a localized tip-induced surface plasmon on the Au substrate was also obtained.
Hydrophobins are small (length, about 100 ± 25 amino acids), cysteine-rich, hydrophobic proteins that are present in large amounts in fungal cell walls, where they form part of the outermost layer (rodlet layer); sometimes, they can also be secreted into the medium. Different hydrophobins are associated with different developmental stages of a fungus, and their biological functions include protection of the hyphae against desiccation and attack by either bacterial or fungal parasites, hyphal adherence, and the lowering of surface tension of the culture medium to permit aerial growth of the hyphae. We identified and isolated a hydrophobin (fruit body hydrophobin 1 [Fbh1]) present in fruit bodies but absent in both monokaryotic and dikaryotic mycelia of the edible mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus. In order to study the temporal and spatial expression of the fbh1 gene, we determined the N-terminal amino acid sequence of Fbh1. We also synthesized and cloned the double-stranded cDNA corresponding to the full-length mRNA of Fbh1 to use it as a probe in both Northern blot and in situ hybridization experiments. Fbh1 mRNA is detectable in specific parts of the fruit body, and it is absent in other developmental stages.
We have taken advantage of the native surface roughness and the iron content of AISI-316 stainless steel to grow multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) by chemical vapour deposition without the addition of an external catalyst. The structural and electronic properties of the synthesized carbon nanostructures have been investigated by a range of electron microscopy and spectroscopy techniques. The results show the good quality and the high graphitization degree of the synthesized MWCNTs. Through energy-loss spectroscopy we found that the electronic properties of these nanostructures are markedly different from those of highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG). Notably, a broadening of the π-plasmon peak in the case of MWCNTs is evident. In addition, a photocurrent was measured when MWCNTs were airbrushed onto a silicon substrate. External quantum efficiency (EQE) and photocurrent values were reported both in planar and in top-down geometry of the device. Marked differences in the line shapes and intensities were found for the two configurations, suggesting that two different mechanisms of photocurrent generation and charge collection are in operation. From this comparison, we are able to conclude that the silicon substrate plays an important role in the production of electron–hole pairs.
carbon nanotubes; electronic properties; heterojunction; photovoltaic; stainless steel
Hydrophobins are small extracellular proteins, unique to and ubiquitous in filamentous fungi, which mediate interactions between the fungus and environment. The mycoparasitic fungus Hypocrea atroviridis has recently been shown to possess 10 different class II hydrophobin genes, which is a much higher number than that of any other ascomycete investigated so far. In order to learn the potential advantage of this hydrophobin multiplicity for the fungus, we have investigated their expression patterns under different physiological conditions (e.g., vegetative growth), various conditions inducing sporulation (light, carbon starvation, and mechanical injury-induced stress), and confrontation with potential hosts for mycoparasitism. The results show that the 10 hydrophobins display different patterns of response to these conditions: one hydrophobin (encoded by hfb-2b) is constitutively induced under all conditions, whereas other hydrophobins were formed only under conditions of carbon starvation (encoded by hfb-1c and hfb-6c) or light plus carbon starvation (encoded by hfb-2c, hfb-6a, and hfb-6b). The hydrophobins encoded by hfb-1b and hfb-5a were primarily formed during vegetative growth and under mechanical injury-provoked stress. hfb-22a was not expressed under any conditions and is likely a pseudogene. None of the 10 genes showed a specific expression pattern during mycoparasitic interaction. Most, but not all, of the expression patterns under the three different conditions of sporulation were dependent on one or both of the two blue-light regulator proteins BLR1 and BLR2, as shown by the use of respective loss-of-function mutants. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry of mycelial solvent extracts provided sets of molecular ions corresponding to HFB-1b, HFB-2a, HFB-2b, and HFB-5a in their oxidized and processed forms. These in silico-deduced sequences of the hydrophobins indicate cleavages at known signal peptide sites as well as additional N- and C-terminal processing. Mass peaks observed during confrontation with plant-pathogenic fungi indicate further proteolytic attack on the hydrophobins. Our study illustrates both divergent and redundant functions of the 10 hydrophobins of H. atroviridis.
Hybrid supramolecular architectures have been fabricated with acceptor 1,4-bis(4-pyridylethynyl)-2,3-bis-dodecyloxy-benzene (PBP) and donor 2,6-bis(3,4,5-tris-dodecyloxy-phenyl)dithieno[3,2-b:2′,3′-d]thiophene (DTT) compounds on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) surfaces and their structures and molecular conductance are characterized by scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS). Stable, one-component adlayers of PBP and DTT are also investigated. The coadsorption of two-component mixtures of PBP and DTT results in a variety of hybrid nanopattern architectures that differ from those of their respective one-component surface assemblies. Adjusting the acceptor/donor molar ratio in mixed adlayer assemblies results in dramatic changes in the structure of the hybrid nanopatterns. STS measurements indicate that the HOMO and LUMO energy levels of PBP and DTT on an HOPG surface are relatively insensitive to changes in the hybrid supramolecular architectures. These results provide important insight into the design and fabrication of two-dimensional hybrid supramolecular architectures.
Hydrophobins are fungal proteins that can turn into amphipathic membranes at hydrophilic/hydrophobic interfaces by self-assembly. The assemblages by Class I hydrophobins are extremely stable and possess the remarkable ability to change the polarity of the surface. One of its most important industrial applications is its usage as paint. Without detailed knowledge of the 3D structure and self-assembly principles of hydrophobins, it is difficult to make significant progress in furthering its research.
In order to provide useful information to hydrophobin researchers, we analyzed primary structure of hydrophobins to gain more insight about these proteins. In this paper, we presented an in-depth primary sequence analysis using batch BLAST search of the database, sequence filtering by programming and motif finding by MEME. We used batch BLAST to find similar sequences in the NCBI nr database. Then we used MEME to find out motifs. Based on the newly found motifs and the well-known C-CC-C-C-CC-C pattern we used MAST to search the entire nr database. At the end, domain search and phylogenetic analysis were conducted to confirm the result. After searching the nr database with the new PSSM-format motifs identified by MEME, many sequences from various species were found by MAST. Filtering process by pattern, domain and length left 9 qualified candidates.
All of 9 newly identified potential hydrophobins possess the common pattern and hydrophobin domain. From the multiple sequence alignment result, we can see that some of them are grouped very close to other known hydrophobins, which means their phylogenetic relationship is very close and it is highly plausible that they are indeed hydrophobin proteins.
The position of the peripheral nitrogen atoms in bis(terpyridine)-derived oligopyridines (BTPs) has a strong impact on their self-assembly behavior at the liquid/HOPG (highly oriented pyrolytic graphite) interface. The intermolecular hydrogen bonding interactions in these peripheral pyridine units show specific 2D structures for each BTP isomer. From nine possible constitutional isomers only four have been described in the literature. The synthesis and self-assembling behavior of an additional isomer is presented here, but the remaining four members of the series are synthetically inaccessible. The self-assembling properties of three of the missing four BTP isomers can be mimicked by making use of the energetically preferred N–C–C–N transoid conformation between 2,2'-bipyridine subunits in a new class of so-called septipyridines. The structures are investigated by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and a combination of force-field and first-principles electronic structure calculations.
oligopyridines; self-assembled monolayer; STM
Hydrophobins are small (ca. 100 amino acids) secreted fungal proteins that are characterized by the presence of eight conserved cysteine residues and by a typical hydropathy pattern. Class I hydrophobins self-assemble at hydrophilic-hydrophobic interfaces into highly insoluble amphipathic membranes, thereby changing the nature of surfaces. Hydrophobic surfaces become hydrophilic, while hydrophilic surfaces become hydrophobic. To see whether surface properties of assembled hydrophobins can be changed, 25 N-terminal residues of the mature SC3 hydrophobin were deleted (TrSC3). In addition, the cell-binding domain of fibronectin (RGD) was fused to the N terminus of mature SC3 (RGD-SC3) and TrSC3 (RGD-TrSC3). Self-assembly and surface activity were not affected by these modifications. However, physiochemical properties at the hydrophilic side of the assembled hydrophobin did change. This was demonstrated by a change in wettability and by enhanced growth of fibroblasts on Teflon-coated with RGD-SC3, TrSC3, or RGD-TrSC3 compared to bare Teflon or Teflon coated with SC3. Thus, engineered hydrophobins can be used to functionalize surfaces.
Aspergillus fumigatus produces conidia that are highly dispersable and resistant to degradation. We have sought to analyze these properties by studying the rodlets which form the outer spore coat protein. Degenerate primers based on hydrophobins in other fungi were applied to genomic DNA from A. fumigatus in PCR. A product of this reaction with similarity to an Aspergillus nidulans gene as judged by Southern hybridization was chosen for further study. Cloning and sequencing revealed a gene with two introns which encodes a protein of 159 amino acids. Structural characteristics consistent with those of other fungal hydrophobin genes, especially conserved cysteine residues, are present. The expression of the gene is limited to the developmental stages in which maturing conidiophores are present. This A. fumigatus gene, HYP1, was used to transform a mutant strain of A. nidulans that lacks rodlets. Transformants with a single copy of HYP1 expressed a rodlet layer on their conidia as observed by freeze-fracture electron microscopy.
Hydrophobins are abundant small hydrophobic proteins that are present on the surfaces of many filamentous fungi. The chestnut blight pathogen Cryphonectria parasitica was shown to produce a class II hydrophobin, cryparin. Cryparin is the most abundant protein produced by this fungus when grown in liquid culture. When the fungus is growing on chestnut trees, cryparin is found only in the fungal fruiting body walls. Deletion of the gene encoding cryparin resulted in a culture phenotype typical of hydrophobin deletion mutants of other fungi, i.e., easily wettable (nonhydrophobic) hyphae. When grown on the natural substrate of the fungus, however, cryparin-null mutation strains were unable to normally produce its fungal fruiting bodies. Although the stromal pustules showed normal development initially, they were unable to erupt through the bark of the tree. The hydrophobin cryparin thus plays an essential role in the fitness of this important plant pathogen by facilitating the eruption of the fungal fruiting bodies through the bark of its host tree.
Single- and multilayer graphene and highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) were exposed to a pure hydrogen low-temperature plasma (LTP). Characterizations include various experimental techniques such as photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and scanning probe microscopy. Our photoemission measurement shows that hydrogen LTP exposed HOPG has a diamond-like valence-band structure, which suggests double-sided hydrogenation. With the scanning tunneling microscopy technique, various atomic-scale charge-density patterns were observed, which may be associated with different C–H conformers. Hydrogen-LTP-exposed graphene on SiO2 has a Raman spectrum in which the D peak to G peak ratio is over 4, associated with hydrogenation on both sides. A very low defect density was observed in the scanning probe microscopy measurements, which enables a reverse transformation to graphene. Hydrogen-LTP-exposed HOPG possesses a high thermal stability, and therefore, this transformation requires annealing at over 1000 °C.
graphane; HOPG; hydrogenation; plasma
The self-assembly properties of a series of functionalized regioregular oligo(3-alkylthiophenes) were investigated by using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) at the liquid–solid interface under ambient conditions. The characteristics of the 2-D crystals formed on the (0001) plane of highly ordered pyrolitic graphite (HOPG) strongly depend on the length of the π-conjugated oligomer backbone, on the functional groups attached to it, and on the alkyl substitution pattern on the individual thiophene units. Theoretical calculations were performed to analyze the geometry and electronic density of the molecular orbitals as well as to analyze the intermolecular interactions, in order to obtain models of the 2-D molecular ordering on the substrate.
2-D crystals; functionalized oligothiophenes; H-bonding; intermolecular interaction; scanning tunneling microscopy
Cryparin is a cell-surface-associated hydrophobin of the filamentous ascomycete Cryphonectria parasitica. This protein contains a signal peptide that directs it to the vesicle-mediated secretory pathway. We detected a glycosylated form of cryparin in a secretory vesicle fraction, but secreted forms of this protein are not glycosylated. This glycosylation occurred in the proprotein region, which is cleaved during maturation by a Kex2-like serine protease, leaving a mature form of cryparin that could be isolated from both the cell wall and culture medium. Pulse-chase labeling experiments showed that cryparin was secreted through the cell wall, without being bound, into the culture medium. The secreted protein then binds to the cell walls of C. parasitica, where it remains. Binding of cryparin to the cell wall occurred in submerged culture, presumably because of the lectin-like properties unique to this hydrophobin. Thus, the binding of this hydrophobin to the cell wall is different from that of other hydrophobins which are reported to require a hydrophobic-hydrophilic interface for assembly.
Interactions between plants and fungal pathogens require a complex interplay at the plant–fungus interface. Extracellular effector proteins are thought to play a crucial role in establishing a successful infection. To identify pathogenesis-related proteins in Ustilago maydis we combined the isolation of secreted proteins using a signal sequence trap approach with bioinformatic analyses and the subsequent characterization of knock-out mutants. We identified 29 secreted proteins including hydrophobins and proteins with a repetitive structure similar to the repellent protein Rep1. Hum3, a protein containing both, a hydrophobin domain and a repetitive Rep1-like region, is shown to be processed during passage through the secretory pathway. While single knock-outs of hydrophobin or repellent-like genes did not affect pathogenicity, we found a strong effect of a double knock-out of hum3 and the repetitive rsp1. Yeast-like growth, mating, aerial hyphae formation and surface hydrophobicity were unaffected in this double mutant. However, pathogenic development in planta stops early after penetration leading to a complete loss of pathogenicity. This indicates that Hum3 and Rsp1 are pathogenicity proteins that share an essential function in early stages of the infection. Our results demonstrate that focusing on secreted proteins is a promising way to discover novel pathogenicity proteins that might be broadly applied to a variety of fungal pathogens.
Hydrophobin; Repellent proteins; Phytopathogenic; Virulence factors; Signal sequence trap
In the chemotaxis pathway of the bacterium Escherichia coli, signals are carried from a cluster of receptors to the flagellar motors by the diffusion of the protein CheY-phosphate (CheYp) through the cytoplasm. A second protein, CheZ, which promotes dephosphorylation of CheYp, partially colocalizes with receptors in the plasma membrane. CheZ is normally dimeric in solution but has been suggested to associate into highly active oligomers in the presence of CheYp. A model is presented here and supported by Brownian dynamics simulations, which accounts for these and other experimental data: A minority component of the receptor cluster (dimers of CheAshort) nucleates CheZ oligomerization and CheZ molecules move from the cytoplasm to a bound state at the receptor cluster depending on the current level of cellular stimulation. The corresponding simulations suggest that dynamic CheZ localization will sharpen cellular responses to chemoeffectors, increase the range of detectable ligand concentrations, and make adaptation more precise and robust. The localization and activation of CheZ constitute a negative feedback loop that provides a second tier of adaptation to the system. Subtle adjustments of this kind are likely to be found in many other signaling pathways.
In order to function effectively, a living cell must not only synthesize the correct molecules but also put them in the correct place. Understanding how this positioning occurs, and what its consequences are, is a matter of great interest and concern to contemporary biologists. The author here proposes a novel mechanism that will enhance the ability of a bacterial cell to perform chemotaxis—the ability to swim toward sources of food or away from noxious substances. In this hypothesis, a key protein in the chemotaxis pathway moves dynamically between the membrane and the cytoplasm depending on the presence of attractants or repellents. This idea is explored and tested by means of detailed molecular simulations in which all of the relevant molecules are shown in their correct location in the cell. The simulations show that the proposed shift in location of the key molecule will improve the speed, range, and robustness of the cell's response. It seems likely that similar movements of proteins will occur in many other signaling pathways.
The oligomerization/co-localization of protein complexes and their cooperative regulation in protein function is a key feature in many biological systems. The synergistic regulation in different subunits often enhances the functional properties of the multi-enzyme complex. The present study used molecular dynamics and Brownian dynamics simulations to study the effects of allostery, oligomerization and intermediate channeling on enhancing the protein function of tryptophan synthase (TRPS). TRPS uses a set of α/β–dimeric units to catalyze the last two steps of L-tryptophan biosynthesis, and the rate is remarkably slower in the isolated monomers. Our work shows that without their binding partner, the isolated monomers are stable and more rigid. The substrates can form fairly stable interactions with the protein in both forms when the protein reaches the final ligand–bound conformations. Our simulations also revealed that the α/β–dimeric unit stabilizes the substrate–protein conformation in the ligand binding process, which lowers the conformation transition barrier and helps the protein conformations shift from an open/inactive form to a closed/active form. Brownian dynamics simulations with a coarse-grained model illustrate how protein conformations affect substrate channeling. The results highlight the complex roles of protein oligomerization and the fine balance between rigidity and dynamics in protein function.
Conformational changes of enzymes are often related to regulating and creating an optimal environment for efficient chemistry. An increasing number of evidences also indicate that oligomerization/co-localization of proteins contributes to the efficiency of metabolic pathways. Although static structures have been available for many multi-enzyme complexes, their efficiency is also governed by the synergistic regulation between the multi-units. Our study applies molecular dynamics and Brownian dynamics simulations to the model system, the tryptophan synthase complex. The multi-enzyme complex is a bienzyme nanomachine and its catalytic activity is intimately related to the allosteric signaling and the metabolite transfer between its α– and β–subunits connected by a 25-Å long channel. Our studies suggest that the binding partner is crucial for the ligand binding processes. Although the isolated monomers are stable in the ligand–free state and can form stable interaction if the substrate is in the final bound conformation, it has higher energy barrier when ligand binds to the active site. We also show that the channel does not always exist, but it may be blocked before the enzyme reaches its final bound conformation. The results highlight the importance of forming protein complexes and the cooperative changes during different states.
Hydrophobins are a family of small secreted proteins with a characteristic pattern of eight cysteine residues found exclusively in filamentous fungi. They have originally been divided into two classes based on their physical properties and hydropathy patterns, and are involved in the attachment of hyphae to hydrophobic structures, the formation of aerial structures and appear to be involved in pathogenicity.
Analysis of nine genome sequences from seven Aspergilli revealed fifty hydrophobins, where each species displayed between two to eight hydrophobins. Twenty of the identified hydrophobins have not previously been described from these species. Apart from the cysteines, very little amino acid sequence homology was observed. Twenty-three of the identified hydrophobins could be classified as class I hydrophobins based on their conserved cysteine spacing pattern and hydropathy pattern. However twenty-six of the identified hydrophobins were intermediate forms. Notably, a single hydrophobin, ATEG_04730, from Aspergillus terreus displayed class II cysteine spacing and had a class II hydropathy pattern.
Fifty hydrophobins were identified in Aspergillus, all containing the characteristic eight cysteine pattern. Aspergillus terreus exhibited both class I and class II hydrophobins. This is the first report of an Aspergillus species with the potential to express both class I and class II hydrophobins. Many of the identified hydrophobins could not directly be allocated to either class I or class II.