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1.  Mechanism of Binding of Prothioconazole to Mycosphaerella graminicola CYP51 Differs from That of Other Azole Antifungals ▿  
Prothioconazole is one of the most important commercially available demethylase inhibitors (DMIs) used to treat Mycosphaerella graminicola infection of wheat, but specific information regarding its mode of action is not available in the scientific literature. Treatment of wild-type M. graminicola (strain IPO323) with 5 μg of epoxiconazole, tebuconazole, triadimenol, or prothioconazole ml−1 resulted in inhibition of M. graminicola CYP51 (MgCYP51), as evidenced by the accumulation of 14α-methylated sterol substrates (lanosterol and eburicol) and the depletion of ergosterol in azole-treated cells. Successful expression of MgCYP51 in Escherichia coli enabled us to conduct spectrophotometric assays using purified 62-kDa MgCYP51 protein. Antifungal-binding studies revealed that epoxiconazole, tebuconazole, and triadimenol all bound tightly to MgCYP51, producing strong type II difference spectra (peak at 423 to 429 nm and trough at 406 to 409 nm) indicative of the formation of classical low-spin sixth-ligand complexes. Interaction of prothioconazole with MgCYP51 exhibited a novel spectrum with a peak and trough observed at 410 nm and 428 nm, respectively, indicating a different mechanism of inhibition. Prothioconazole bound to MgCYP51 with 840-fold less affinity than epoxiconazole and, unlike epoxiconazole, tebuconazole, and triadimenol, which are noncompetitive inhibitors, prothioconazole was found to be a competitive inhibitor of substrate binding. This represents the first study to validate the effect of prothioconazole on the sterol composition of M. graminicola and the first on the successful heterologous expression of active MgCYP51 protein. The binding affinity studies documented here provide novel insights into the interaction of MgCYP51 with DMIs, especially for the new triazolinethione derivative prothioconazole.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01332-10
PMCID: PMC3067226  PMID: 21169436
2.  Complementation of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae ERG11/CYP51 (Sterol 14α-Demethylase) Doxycycline-Regulated Mutant and Screening of the Azole Sensitivity of Aspergillus fumigatus Isoenzymes CYP51A and CYP51B▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(11):4920-4923.
Aspergillus fumigatus sterol 14α-demethylase isoenzymes CYP51A and CYP51B were heterologously expressed in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant (YUG37-erg11), wherein native ERG11/CYP51 expression is controlled using a doxycycline-regulatable promoter. When cultured in the presence of doxycycline, recombinant YUG37-pcyp51A and YUG37-pcyp51B yeasts were able to synthesize ergosterol and grow; a control strain harboring reverse-oriented cyp51A could not. YUG37-pcyp51A and YUG37-pcyp51B constructs showed identical sensitivity to itraconazole, posaconazole, clotrimazole, and voriconazole. Conversely, YUG37-pcyp51A withstood 16-fold-higher concentrations of fluconazole than YUG37-pcyp51B (8 and 0.5 μg ml−1, respectively).
doi:10.1128/AAC.00349-10
PMCID: PMC2976139  PMID: 20733045
3.  Identification and Characterization of Four Azole-Resistant erg3 Mutants of Candida albicans▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(11):4527-4533.
Sterol analysis identified four Candida albicans erg3 mutants in which ergosta 7,22-dienol, indicative of perturbations in sterol Δ5,6-desaturase (Erg3p) activity, comprised >5% of the total sterol fraction. The erg3 mutants (CA12, CA488, CA490, and CA1008) were all resistant to fluconazole, voriconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, and clotrimazole under standard CLSI assay conditions (MIC values, ≥256, 16, 16, 8, and 1 μg ml−1, respectively). Importantly, CA12 and CA1008 retained an azole-resistant phenotype even when assayed in the presence of FK506, a multidrug efflux inhibitor. Conversely, CA488, CA490, and three comparator isolates (CA6, CA14, and CA177, in which ergosterol comprised >80% of the total sterol fraction and ergosta 7,22-dienol was undetectable) all displayed azole-sensitive phenotypes under efflux-inhibited assay conditions. Owing to their ergosterol content, CA6, CA14, and CA177 were highly sensitive to amphotericin B (MIC values, <0.25 μg ml−1); CA1008, in which ergosterol comprised <2% of the total sterol fraction, was less sensitive (MIC, 1 μg ml−1). CA1008 harbored multiple amino acid substitutions in Erg3p but only a single conserved polymorphism (E266D) in sterol 14α-demethylase (Erg11p). CA12 harbored one substitution (W332R) in Erg3p and no residue changes in Erg11p. CA488 and CA490 were found to harbor multiple residue changes in both Erg3p and Erg11p. The results suggest that missense mutations in ERG3 might arise in C. albicans more frequently than currently supposed and that the clinical significance of erg3 mutants, including those in which additional mechanisms also contribute to resistance, should not be discounted.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00348-10
PMCID: PMC2976150  PMID: 20733039
4.  Azole Binding Properties of Candida albicans Sterol 14-α Demethylase (CaCYP51)▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(10):4235-4245.
Purified Candida albicans sterol 14-α demethylase (CaCYP51) bound the CYP51 substrates lanosterol and eburicol, producing type I binding spectra with Ks values of 11 and 25 μM, respectively, and a Km value of 6 μM for lanosterol. Azole binding to CaCYP51 was “tight” with both the type II spectral intensity (ΔAmax) and the azole concentration required to obtain a half-ΔAmax being proportional to the CaCYP51 concentration. Tight binding of fluconazole and itraconazole was confirmed by 50% inhibitory concentration determinations from CYP51 reconstitution assays. CaCYP51 had similar affinities for clotrimazole, econazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, miconazole, and voriconazole, with Kd values of 10 to 26 μM under oxidative conditions, compared with 47 μM for fluconazole. The affinities of CaCYP51 for fluconazole and itraconazole appeared to be 4- and 2-fold lower based on CO displacement studies than those when using direct ligand binding under oxidative conditions. Econazole and miconazole were most readily displaced by carbon monoxide, followed by clotrimazole, ketoconazole, and fluconazole, and then voriconazole (7.8 pmol min−1), but itraconzole could not be displaced by carbon monoxide. This work reports in depth the characterization of the azole binding properties of wild-type C. albicans CYP51, including that of voriconazole, and will contribute to effective screening of new therapeutic azole antifungal agents. Preliminary comparative studies with the I471T CaCYP51 protein suggested that fluconazole resistance conferred by this mutation was through a combination of increased turnover, increased affinity for substrate, and a reduced affinity for fluconazole in the presence of substrate, allowing the enzyme to remain functionally active, albeit at reduced velocity, at higher fluconazole concentrations.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00587-10
PMCID: PMC2944560  PMID: 20625155
5.  Expression, Purification, and Characterization of Aspergillus fumigatus Sterol 14-α Demethylase (CYP51) Isoenzymes A and B▿  
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2010;54(10):4225-4234.
Aspergillus fumigatus sterol 14-α demethylase (CYP51) isoenzymes A (AF51A) and B (AF51B) were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. The dithionite-reduced CO-P450 complex for AF51A was unstable, rapidly denaturing to inactive P420, in marked contrast to AF51B, where the CO-P450 complex was stable. Type I substrate binding spectra were obtained with purified AF51B using lanosterol (Ks, 8.6 μM) and eburicol (Ks, 22.6 μM). Membrane suspensions of AF51A bound to both lanosterol (Ks, 3.1 μM) and eburicol (Ks, 4.1 μM). The binding of azoles, with the exception of fluconazole, to AF51B was tight, with the Kd (dissociation constant) values for clotrimazole, itraconazole, posaconazole, and voriconazole being 0.21, 0.06, 0.12, and 0.42 μM, respectively, in comparison with a Kd value of 4 μM for fluconazole. Characteristic type II azole binding spectra were obtained with AF51B, whereas an additional trough and a blue-shifted spectral peak were present in AF51A binding spectra for all azoles except clotrimazole. This suggests two distinct azole binding conformations within the heme prosthetic group of AF51A. All five azoles bound relatively weakly to AF51A, with Kd values ranging from 1 μM for itraconazole to 11.9 μM for fluconazole. The azole binding properties of purified AF51A and AF51B suggest an explanation for the intrinsic azole (fluconazole) resistance observed in Aspergillus fumigatus.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00316-10
PMCID: PMC2944604  PMID: 20660663
6.  A Clinical Isolate of Candida albicans with Mutations in ERG11 (Encoding Sterol 14α-Demethylase) and ERG5 (Encoding C22 Desaturase) Is Cross Resistant to Azoles and Amphotericin B▿  
A clinical isolate of Candida albicans was identified as an erg5 (encoding sterol C22 desaturase) mutant in which ergosterol was not detectable and ergosta 5,7-dienol comprised >80% of the total sterol fraction. The mutant isolate (CA108) was resistant to fluconazole, voriconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, and clotrimazole (MIC values, 64, 8, 2, 1, and 2 μg ml−1, respectively); azole resistance could not be fully explained by the activity of multidrug resistance pumps. When susceptibility tests were performed in the presence of a multidrug efflux inhibitor (tacrolimus; FK506), CA108 remained resistant to azole concentrations higher than suggested clinical breakpoints for C. albicans (efflux-inhibited MIC values, 16 and 4 μg ml−1 for fluconazole and voriconazole, respectively). Gene sequencing revealed that CA108 was an erg11 erg5 double mutant harboring a single amino acid substitution (A114S) in sterol 14α-demethylase (Erg11p) and sequence repetition (10 duplicated amino acids), which nullified C22 desaturase (Erg5p) function. Owing to a lack of ergosterol, CA108 was also resistant to amphotericin B (MIC, 2 μg ml−1). This constitutes the first report of a C. albicans erg5 mutant isolated from the clinic.
doi:10.1128/AAC.00303-10
PMCID: PMC2934972  PMID: 20547793
7.  Regenerated extracellular NH4+ affects the motile chemosensory responses of batch-cultured Oxyrrhis marina 
Brazilian Journal of Microbiology  2010;41(2):321-328.
Regenerated extracellular NH4+in laboratory batch cultures of the heterotrophic marine microzooplankter Oxyrrhis marina affects the strength and consistency of chemotaxes elicited by synthetic and biogenic chemoattractants. The ecological relevance of experiments with batch-cultured O. marina and limitations of the microcapillary assay for the study of chemosensory behaviours are discussed.
doi:10.1590/S1517-838220100002000010
PMCID: PMC3768683  PMID: 24031499
Chemosensory; Chemotaxis; Chemotaxes; Oxyrrhis marina
8.  Nitrogen-deficient microalgae are rich in cell-surface mannose: potential implications for prey biorecognition by phagotrophic protozoa 
Flow cytometry was used to quantify the abundance of mannose-linked glycoconjugates on microalgae precultured using low- or high-nitrate media. Nitrogen-deficient microalgae were richer in cell-surface mannose than nitrogen-sufficient. Findings are discussed in view of recent research which reveals mannose-specific ‘feeding receptors’ assist prey biorecognition by phagotrophic protozoa that ingest microalgae.
doi:10.1590/S1517-838220090001000014
PMCID: PMC3768488  PMID: 24031323
microalgae; biorecognition; phagotrophic protozoa; mannose

Results 1-8 (8)