Copper is an essential but potentially toxic redox-active metal, so the levels and distribution of this metal are carefully regulated to ensure that it binds to the correct proteins. Previous studies of copper-dependent transcription in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have focused on the response of genes to changes in the exogenous levels of copper. We now report that yeast copper genes are regulated in response to the DNA-damaging agents methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) and hydroxyurea by a mechanism(s) that requires the copper-responsive transcription factors Mac1 and AceI, copper superoxide dismutase (Sod1) activity, and the Rad53 checkpoint kinase. Furthermore, in copper-starved yeast, the response of the Rad53 pathway to MMS is compromised due to a loss of Sod1 activity, consistent with the model that yeast imports copper to ensure Sod1 activity and Rad53 signaling. Crucially, the Mac1 transcription factor undergoes changes in its redox state in response to changing levels of copper or MMS. This study has therefore identified a novel regulatory relationship between cellular redox, copper homeostasis, and the DNA damage response in yeast.
Proteins of the conserved Mep-Amt-Rh family, including mammalian Rhesus factors, mediate transmembrane ammonium transport. Ammonium is an important nitrogen source for the biosynthesis of amino acids but is also a metabolic waste product. Its disposal in urine plays a critical role in the regulation of the acid/base homeostasis, especially with an acid diet, a trait of Western countries. Ammonium accumulation above a certain concentration is however pathologic, the cytotoxicity causing fatal cerebral paralysis in acute cases. Alteration in ammonium transport via human Rh proteins could have clinical outcomes. We used a yeast-based expression assay to characterize human Rh variants resulting from non synonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms (nsSNPs) with known or unknown clinical phenotypes and assessed their ammonium transport efficiency, protein level, localization and potential trans-dominant impact. The HsRhAG variants (I61R, F65S) associated to overhydrated hereditary stomatocytosis (OHSt), a disease affecting erythrocytes, proved affected in intrinsic bidirectional ammonium transport. Moreover, this study reveals that the R202C variant of HsRhCG, the orthologue of mouse MmRhcg required for optimal urinary ammonium excretion and blood pH control, shows an impaired inherent ammonium transport activity. Urinary ammonium excretion was RHcg gene-dose dependent in mouse, highlighting MmRhcg as a limiting factor. HsRhCGR202C may confer susceptibility to disorders leading to metabolic acidosis for instance. Finally, the analogous R211C mutation in the yeast ScMep2 homologue also impaired intrinsic activity consistent with a conserved functional role of the preserved arginine residue. The yeast expression assay used here constitutes an inexpensive, fast and easy tool to screen nsSNPs reported by high throughput sequencing or individual cases for functional alterations in Rh factors revealing potential causal variants.
Responses to many growth and stress conditions are assumed to act via changes to the cellular redox status. However, direct measurement of pH-adjusted redox state during growth and stress has never been carried out. Organellar redox state (EGSH) was measured using the fluorescent probes roGFP2 and pHluorin in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In particular, we investigated changes in organellar redox state in response to various growth and stress conditions to better understand the relationship between redox-, oxidative- and environmental stress response systems. EGSH values of the cytosol, mitochondrial matrix and peroxisome were determined in exponential and stationary phase in various media. These values (−340 to −350 mV) were more reducing than previously reported. Interestingly, sub-cellular redox state remained unchanged when cells were challenged with stresses previously reported to affect redox homeostasis. Only hydrogen peroxide and heat stress significantly altered organellar redox state. Hydrogen peroxide stress altered the redox state of the glutathione disulfide/glutathione couple (GSSG, 2H+/2GSH) and pH. Recovery from moderate hydrogen peroxide stress was most rapid in the cytosol, followed by the mitochondrial matrix, with the peroxisome the least able to recover. Conversely, the bulk of the redox shift observed during heat stress resulted from alterations in pH and not the GSSG, 2H+/2GSH couple. This study presents the first direct measurement of pH-adjusted redox state in sub-cellular compartments during growth and stress conditions. Redox state is distinctly regulated in organelles and data presented challenge the notion that perturbation of redox state is central in the response to many stress conditions.
Urease in Cryptococcus neoformans plays an important role in fungal dissemination to the brain and causing meningoencephalitis. Although urea is not required for synthesis of apourease encoded by URE1, the available nitrogen source affected the expression of URE1 as well as the level of the enzyme activity. Activation of the apoenzyme requires three accessory proteins, Ure4, Ure6, and Ure7, which are homologs of the bacterial urease accessory proteins UreD, UreF, and UreG, respectively. A yeast two-hybrid assay showed positive interaction of Ure1 with the three accessory proteins encoded by URE4, URE6, and URE7. Metalloproteomic analysis of cryptococcal lysates using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and a biochemical assay of urease activity showed that, as in many other organisms, urease is a metallocentric enzyme that requires nickel transported by Nic1 for its catalytic activity. The Ure7 accessory protein (bacterial UreG homolog) binds nickel likely via its conserved histidine-rich domain and appears to be responsible for the incorporation of Ni2+ into the apourease. Although the cryptococcal genome lacks the bacterial UreE homolog, Ure7 appears to combine the functions of bacterial UreE and UreG, thus making this pathogen more similar to that seen with the plant system. Brain invasion by the ure1, ure7, and nic1 mutant strains that lack urease activity was significantly less effective in a mouse model. This indicated that an activated urease and not the Ure1 protein was responsible for enhancement of brain invasion and that the factors required for urease activation in C. neoformans resemble those of plants more than those of bacteria.
Cryptococcus neoformans is the major fungal agent of meningoencephalitis in humans. Although urease is an important factor for cryptococcal brain invasion, the enzyme activation system has not been studied. We show that urease is a nickel-requiring enzyme whose activity level is influenced by the type of available nitrogen source. C. neoformans contains all the bacterial urease accessory protein homologs and nickel transporters except UreE, a nickel chaperone. Cryptococcal Ure7 (a homolog of UreG) apparently functions as both the bacterial UreG and UreE in activating the Ure1 apoenzyme. The cryptococcal urease accessory proteins Ure4, Ure6, and Ure7 interacted with Ure1 in a yeast two-hybrid assay, and deletion of any one of these not only inactivated the enzyme but also reduced the efficacy of brain invasion. This is the first study showing a holistic picture of urease in fungi, clarifying that urease activity, and not Ure1 protein, contributes to pathogenesis in C. neoformans
In Rhizobia the Irr protein is an important regulator for iron-dependent gene expression. We studied the role of the Irr homolog RSP_3179 in the photosynthetic alpha-proteobacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides. While Irr had little effect on growth under iron-limiting or non-limiting conditions its deletion resulted in increased resistance to hydrogen peroxide and singlet oxygen. This correlates with an elevated expression of katE for catalase in the Irr mutant compared to the wild type under non-stress conditions. Transcriptome studies revealed that Irr affects the expression of genes for iron metabolism, but also has some influence on genes involved in stress response, citric acid cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, transport, and photosynthesis. Most genes showed higher expression levels in the wild type than in the mutant under normal growth conditions indicating an activator function of Irr. Irr was however not required to activate genes of the iron metabolism in response to iron limitation, which showed even stronger induction in the absence of Irr. This was also true for genes mbfA and ccpA, which were verified as direct targets for Irr. Our results suggest that in R. sphaeroides Irr diminishes the strong induction of genes for iron metabolism under iron starvation.
This study establishes the role of P5A-type Cta4 ATPase in Ca2+ sequestration in the endoplasmic reticulum by detecting an ATP-dependent, vanadate-sensitive and FCCP insensitive 45Ca2+-transport in fission yeast membranes isolated by cellular fractionation. Specifically, the Ca2+-ATPase transport activity was decreased in ER membranes isolated from cells lacking a cta4+ gene. Furthermore, a disruption of cta4+ resulted in 6-fold increase of intracellular Ca2+ levels, sensitivity towards accumulation of misfolded proteins in ER and ER stress, stimulation of the calcineurin phosphatase activity and vacuolar Ca2+ pumping. These data provide compelling biochemical evidence for a P5A-type Cta4 ATPase as an essential component of Ca2+ transport system and signaling network which regulate, in conjunction with calcineurin, the ER functionality in fission yeast.
Mechanisms that enable Enterococcus to cope with different environmental stresses and their contribution to the switch from commensalism to pathogenicity of this organism are still poorly understood. Maintenance of intracellular homeostasis of metal ions is crucial for survival of these bacteria. In particular Zn2+, Mn2+ and Cu2+ are very important metal ions as they are co-factors of many enzymes, are involved in oxidative stress defense and have a role in the immune system of the host. Their concentrations inside the human body vary hugely, which makes it imperative for Enterococcus to fine-tune metal ion homeostasis in order to survive inside the host and colonize it. Little is known about metal regulation in Enterococcus faecalis. Here we present the first genome-wide description of gene expression of E. faecalis V583 growing in the presence of high concentrations of zinc, manganese or copper ions. The DNA microarray experiments revealed that mostly transporters are involved in the responses of E. faecalis to prolonged exposure to high metal concentrations although genes involved in cellular processes, in energy and amino acid metabolisms and genes related to the cell envelope also seem to play important roles.
The pathogenic yeast Candida albicans can develop resistance to the widely used antifungal agent fluconazole, which inhibits ergosterol biosynthesis, by the overexpression of genes encoding multidrug efflux pumps or ergosterol biosynthesis enzymes. Zinc cluster transcription factors play a central role in the transcriptional regulation of drug resistance. Mrr1 regulates the expression of the major facilitator MDR1, Tac1 controls the expression of the ABC transporters CDR1 and CDR2, and Upc2 regulates ergosterol biosynthesis (ERG) genes. Gain-of-function mutations in these transcription factors result in constitutive overexpression of their target genes and are responsible for fluconazole resistance in many clinical C. albicans isolates. The transcription factor Ndt80 contributes to the drug-induced upregulation of CDR1 and ERG genes and also binds to the MDR1 and CDR2 promoters, suggesting that it is an important component of all major transcriptional mechanisms of fluconazole resistance. However, we found that Ndt80 is not required for the induction of MDR1 and CDR2 expression by inducing chemicals. CDR2 was even partially derepressed in ndt80Δ mutants, indicating that Ndt80 is a repressor of CDR2 expression. Hyperactive forms of Mrr1, Tac1, and Upc2 promoted overexpression of MDR1, CDR1/CDR2, and ERG11, respectively, with the same efficiency in the presence and absence of Ndt80. Mrr1- and Tac1-mediated fluconazole resistance was even slightly enhanced in ndt80Δ mutants compared to wild-type cells. These results demonstrate that Ndt80 is dispensable for the constitutive overexpression of Mrr1, Tac1, and Upc2 target genes and the increased fluconazole resistance of strains that have acquired activating mutations in these transcription factors.
In diverse organisms, adaptation to low oxygen (hypoxia) is mediated through complex gene expression changes that can, in part, be mimicked by exposure to metals such as cobalt. Although much is known about the transcriptional response to hypoxia and cobalt, little is known about the all-important cell metabolism effects that trigger these responses.
Methods and Findings
Herein we use a low molecular weight metabolome profiling approach to identify classes of metabolites in yeast cells that are altered as a consequence of hypoxia or cobalt exposures. Key findings on metabolites were followed-up by measuring expression of relevant proteins and enzyme activities. We find that both hypoxia and cobalt result in a loss of essential sterols and unsaturated fatty acids, but the basis for these changes are disparate. While hypoxia can affect a variety of enzymatic steps requiring oxygen and heme, cobalt specifically interferes with diiron-oxo enzymatic steps for sterol synthesis and fatty acid desaturation. In addition to diiron-oxo enzymes, cobalt but not hypoxia results in loss of labile 4Fe-4S dehydratases in the mitochondria, but has no effect on homologous 4Fe-4S dehydratases in the cytosol. Most striking, hypoxia but not cobalt affected cellular pools of amino acids. Amino acids such as aromatics were elevated whereas leucine and methionine, essential to the strain used here, dramatically decreased due to hypoxia induced down-regulation of amino acid permeases.
These studies underscore the notion that cobalt targets a specific class of iron proteins and provide the first evidence for hypoxia effects on amino acid regulation. This research illustrates the power of metabolite profiling for uncovering new adaptations to environmental stress.
Social motility (S motility), the coordinated movement of large cell groups
on agar surfaces, of Myxococcus xanthus requires type IV
pili (TFP) and exopolysaccharides (EPS). Previous models proposed that this
behavior, which only occurred within cell groups, requires cycles of TFP extension
and retraction triggered by the close interaction of TFP with EPS. However,
the curious observation that M. xanthus can perform TFP-dependent
motility at a single-cell level when placed onto polystyrene surfaces in a
highly viscous medium containing 1% methylcellulose indicated that “S
motility” is not limited to group movements. In an apparent further
challenge of the previous findings for S motility, mutants defective in EPS
production were found to perform TFP-dependent motility on polystyrene surface
in methylcellulose-containing medium. By exploring the interactions between
pilin and surface materials, we found that the binding of TFP onto polystyrene
surfaces eliminated the requirement for EPS in EPS- cells and thus
enabled TFP-dependent motility on a single cell level. However, the presence
of a general anchoring surface in a viscous environment could not substitute
for the role of cell surface EPS in group movement. Furthermore, EPS was found
to serve as a self-produced anchoring substrate that can be shed onto surfaces
to enable cells to conduct TFP-dependent motility regardless of surface properties.
These results suggested that in certain environments, such as in methylcellulose
solution, the cells could bypass the need for EPS to anchor their TPF and
conduct single-cell S motility to promote exploratory movement of colonies
over new specific surfaces.
The human fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii cause life-threatening infections of the central nervous system. One of the major characteristics of cryptococcal disease is the ability of the pathogen to parasitise upon phagocytic immune effector cells, a phenomenon that correlates strongly with virulence in rodent models of infection. Despite the importance of phagocyte/Cryptococcus interactions to disease progression, current methods for assaying virulence in the macrophage system are both time consuming and low throughput. Here, we introduce the first stable and fully characterised GFP–expressing derivatives of two widely used cryptococcal strains: C. neoformans serotype A type strain H99 and C. gattii serotype B type strain R265. Both strains show unaltered responses to environmental and host stress conditions and no deficiency in virulence in the macrophage model system. In addition, we report the development of a method to effectively and rapidly investigate macrophage parasitism by flow cytometry, a technique that preserves the accuracy of current approaches but offers a four-fold improvement in speed.
We have previously reported a post-transcriptional RNA amplification observed in vivo following injection of in vitro synthesized transcripts into axolotl oocytes, unfertilized (UFE) or fertilized eggs. To further characterize this phenomenon, low speed extracts (LSE) from axolotl and Xenopus UFE were prepared and tested in an RNA polymerization assay. The major conclusions are: i) the amphibian extracts catalyze the incorporation of radioactive ribonucleotide in RNase but not DNase sensitive products showing that these products correspond to RNA; ii) the phenomenon is resistant to α-amanitin, an inhibitor of RNA polymerases II and III and to cordycepin (3′dAMP), but sensitive to cordycepin 5′-triphosphate, an RNA elongation inhibitor, which supports the existence of an RNA polymerase activity different from polymerases II and III; the detection of radiolabelled RNA comigrating at the same length as the exogenous transcript added to the extracts allowed us to show that iii) the RNA polymerization is not a 3′ end labelling and that iv) the radiolabelled RNA is single rather than double stranded. In vitro cell-free systems derived from amphibian UFE therefore validate our previous in vivo results hypothesizing the existence of an evolutionary conserved enzymatic activity with the properties of an RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp).
Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae mutants unable to transport branched-chain amino acids via the two main amino acid ABC transport complexes AapJQMP and BraDEFGC produce a nitrogen starvation phenotype when inoculated on pea (Pisum sativum) plants , . Bacteroids in indeterminate pea nodules have reduced abundance and a lower chromosome number. They reduce transcription of pathways for branched-chain amino acid biosynthesis and become dependent on their provision by the host. This has been called “symbiotic auxotrophy”.
A region important in solute specificity was identified in AapQ and changing P144D in this region reduced branched-chain amino acid transport to a very low rate. Strains carrying P144D were still fully effective for N2 fixation on peas demonstrating that a low rate of branched amino acid transport in R. leguminosarum bv. viciae supports wild-type rates of nitrogen fixation. The importance of branched-chain amino acid transport was then examined in other legume-Rhizobium symbioses. An aap bra mutant of R. leguminosarum bv. phaseoli also showed nitrogen starvation symptoms when inoculated on French bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), a plant producing determinate nodules. The phenotype is different from that observed on pea and is accompanied by reduced nodule numbers and nitrogen fixation per nodule. However, an aap bra double mutant of Sinorhizobium meliloti 2011 showed no phenotype on alfalfa (Medicago sativa).
Symbiotic auxotrophy occurs in both determinate pea and indeterminate bean nodules demonstrating its importance for bacteroid formation and nodule function in legumes with different developmental programmes. However, only small quantities of branched chain amino acids are needed and symbiotic auxotrophy did not occur in the Sinorhizobium meliloti-alfalfa symbiosis under the conditions measured. The contrasting symbiotic phenotypes of aap bra mutants inoculated on different legumes probably reflects altered timing of amino acid availability, development of symbiotic auxotrophy and nodule developmental programmes.
The alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) system plays a critical role in sugar metabolism involving in not only ethanol formation and consumption but also the general “cofactor balance” mechanism. Candida maltosa is able to ferment glucose as well as xylose to produce a significant amount of ethanol. Here we report the ADH system in C. maltosa composed of three microbial group I ADH genes (CmADH1, CmADH2A and CmADH2B), mainly focusing on its metabolic regulation and physiological function.
Genetic analysis indicated that CmADH2A and CmADH2B tandemly located on the chromosome could be derived from tandem gene duplication. In vitro characterization of enzymatic properties revealed that all the three CmADHs had broad substrate specificities. Homo- and heterotetramers of CmADH1 and CmADH2A were demonstrated by zymogram analysis, and their expression profiles and physiological functions were different with respect to carbon sources and growth phases. Fermentation studies of ADH2A-deficient mutant showed that CmADH2A was directly related to NAD regeneration during xylose metabolism since CmADH2A deficiency resulted in a significant accumulation of glycerol.
Our results revealed that CmADH1 was responsible for ethanol formation during glucose metabolism, whereas CmADH2A was glucose-repressed and functioned to convert the accumulated ethanol to acetaldehyde. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of function separation and glucose repression of ADH genes in xylose-fermenting yeasts. On the other hand, CmADH1 and CmADH2A were both involved in ethanol formation with NAD regeneration to maintain NADH/NAD ratio in favor of producing xylitol from xylose. In contrast, CmADH2B was expressed at a much lower level than the other two CmADH genes, and its function is to be further confirmed.
Photosystem II (PSII) is the most thermally sensitive component of photosynthesis. Thermal acclimation of this complex activity is likely to be critically important to the ability of photosynthetic organisms to tolerate temperature changes in the environment.
We have analysed gene expression using whole-genome microarrays and monitored alterations in physiology during acclimation of PSII to elevated growth temperature in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. PSII acclimation is complete within 480 minutes of exposure to elevated temperature and is associated with a highly dynamic transcriptional response. 176 genes were identified and classified into seven distinct response profile groups. Response profiles suggest the existence of an early transient phase and a sustained phase to the acclimation response. The early phase was characterised by induction of general stress response genes, including heat shock proteins, which are likely to influence PSII thermal stability. The sustained phase consisted of acclimation-specific alterations that are involved in other cellular processes. Sustained responses included genes involved in phycobillisome structure and modification, photosynthesis, respiration, lipid metabolism and motility. Approximately 60% of genes with sustained altered expression levels have no known function. The potential role of differentially expressed genes in thermotolerance and acclimation is discussed. We have characterised the acclimation physiology of selected gene ‘knockouts’ to elucidate possible gene function in the response.
All mutants show lower PSII rates under normal growth conditions. Basal PSII thermotolerance was affected by mutations in clpB1, cpcC2, hspA, htpG and slr1674. Final PSII thermotolerance was affected by mutations in cpcC2, hik34, hspA and hypA1, suggesting that these gene products play roles in long-term thermal acclimation of PSII.
Mitochondrial oxidative stress is a contributing factor in the etiology of numerous neuronal disorders. However, the precise mechanism(s) by which mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) modify cellular targets to induce the death of neurons remains unknown. The goal of this study was to determine if oxidative inactivation of mitochondrial aconitase (m-aconitase) resulted in the release of redox-active iron (Fe2+) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and whether this contributes to cell death.
Incubation of rat primary mesencephalic cultures with the redox cycling herbicide paraquat (PQ2+) resulted in increased production of H2O2 and Fe2+ at times preceding cell death. To confirm the role of m-aconitase as a source of Fenton reagents and death, we overexpressed m-aconitase using an adenoviral construct thereby increasing the target available for inactivation by ROS. Co-labeling studies identified astrocytes as the predominant cell type expressing transduced m-aconitase although neurons were identified as the primary cell type dying. Oxidative inactivation of m-aconitase overexpressing cultures resulted in exacerbation of H2O2 production, Fe2+ accumulation and increased neuronal death. Increased cell death in m-aconitase overexpressing cultures was attenuated by addition of catalase and/or a cell permeable iron chelator suggesting that neuronal death occurred in part via astrocyte-derived H2O2.
These results suggest a role of ROS-sensitive m-aconitase as a source of Fe2+ and H2O2 and as a contributing factor to neurotoxicity.
Zinc deficiency causes oxidative stress in many organisms including the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Previous studies of this yeast indicated that the Tsa1 peroxiredoxin is required for optimal growth in low zinc because of its role in degrading H2O2. In this report, we assessed the importance of other antioxidant genes to zinc-limited growth. Our results indicated that the cytosolic superoxide dismutase Sod1 is also critical for growth under zinc-limiting conditions. We also found that Ccs1, the copper-delivering chaperone required for Sod1 activity is essential for optimal zinc-limited growth. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of the important roles these proteins play under this condition. It has been proposed previously that a loss of Sod1 activity due to inefficient metallation is one source of reactive oxygen species (ROS) under zinc-limiting conditions. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that both the level and activity of Sod1 is diminished in zinc-deficient cells. However, under conditions in which Sod1 was overexpressed in zinc-limited cells and activity was restored, we observed no decrease in ROS levels. Thus, these data indicate that while Sod1 activity is critical for low zinc growth, diminished Sod1 activity is not a major source of the elevated ROS observed under these conditions.
Investigations into the regulation and functional roles of kinases such as cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) increasingly rely on cellular assays. Currently, there are a number of bioluminescence-based assays, for example reporter gene assays, that allow the study of the regulation, activity, and functional effects of PKA in the cellular context. Additionally there are continuing efforts to engineer improved biosensors that are capable of detecting real-time PKA signaling dynamics in cells. These cell-based assays are often utilized to test the involvement of PKA-dependent processes by using H-89, a reversible competitive inhibitor of PKA.
We present here data to show that H-89, in addition to being a competitive PKA inhibitor, attenuates the bioluminescence signal produced by Renilla luciferase (RLuc) variants in a population of cells and also in single cells. Using 10 µM of luciferase substrate and 10 µM H-89, we observed that the signal from RLuc and RLuc8, an eight-point mutation variant of RLuc, in cells was reduced to 50% (±15%) and 54% (±14%) of controls exposed to the vehicle alone, respectively. In vitro, we showed that H-89 decreased the RLuc8 bioluminescence signal but did not compete with coelenterazine-h for the RLuc8 active site, and also did not affect the activity of Firefly luciferase. By contrast, another competitive inhibitor of PKA, KT5720, did not affect the activity of RLuc8.
The identification and characterization of the adverse effect of H-89 on RLuc signal will help deconvolute data previously generated from RLuc-based assays looking at the functional effects of PKA signaling. In addition, for the current application and future development of bioluminscence assays, KT5720 is identified as a more suitable PKA inhibitor to be used in conjunction with RLuc-based assays. These principal findings also provide an important lesson to fully consider all of the potential effects of experimental conditions on a cell-based assay readout before drawing conclusions from the data.
Otto Warburg observed that cancer cells are often characterized by intense glycolysis in the presence of oxygen and a concomitant decrease in mitochondrial respiration. Research has mainly focused on a possible connection between increased glycolysis and tumor development whereas decreased respiration has largely been left unattended. Therefore, a causal relation between decreased respiration and tumorigenesis has not been demonstrated.
For this purpose, colonies of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is suitable for manipulation of mitochondrial respiration and shows mitochondria-mediated cell death, were used as a model. Repression of respiration as well as ROS-scavenging via glutathione inhibited apoptosis and conferred a survival advantage during seeding and early development of this fast proliferating solid cell population. In contrast, enhancement of respiration triggered cell death.
Thus, the Warburg effect might directly contribute to the initiation of cancer formation - not only by enhanced glycolysis - but also via decreased respiration in the presence of oxygen, which suppresses apoptosis.
Spore discharge in the majority of the 30,000 described species of Basidiomycota is powered by the rapid motion of a fluid droplet, called Buller's drop, over the spore surface. In basidiomycete yeasts, and phytopathogenic rusts and smuts, spores are discharged directly into the airflow around the fungal colony. Maximum discharge distances of 1–2 mm have been reported for these fungi. In mushroom-forming species, however, spores are propelled over much shorter ranges. In gilled mushrooms, for example, discharge distances of <0.1 mm ensure that spores do not collide with opposing gill surfaces. The way in which the range of the mechanism is controlled has not been studied previously.
In this study, we report high-speed video analysis of spore discharge in selected basidiomycetes ranging from yeasts to wood-decay fungi with poroid fruiting bodies. Analysis of these video data and mathematical modeling show that discharge distance is determined by both spore size and the size of the Buller's drop. Furthermore, because the size of Buller's drop is controlled by spore shape, these experiments suggest that seemingly minor changes in spore morphology exert major effects upon discharge distance.
This biomechanical analysis of spore discharge mechanisms in mushroom-forming fungi and their relatives is the first of its kind and provides a novel view of the incredible variety of spore morphology that has been catalogued by traditional taxonomists for more than 200 years. Rather than representing non-selected variations in micromorphology, the new experiments show that changes in spore architecture have adaptive significance because they control the distance that the spores are shot through air. For this reason, evolutionary modifications to fruiting body architecture, including changes in gill separation and tube diameter in mushrooms, must be tightly linked to alterations in spore morphology.
Aspergillus nidulans is an important model organism for studies on fundamental eukaryotic cell biology and on industrial processes due to its close relation to A. niger and A. oryzae. Here we identified the gene coding for a novel metabolic pathway in A. nidulans, namely the phosphoketolase pathway, and investigated the role of an increased phosphoketolase activity.
Over-expression of the phosphoketolase gene (phk) improved the specific growth rate on xylose, glycerol and ethanol. Transcriptome analysis showed that a total of 1,222 genes were significantly affected by over-expression of the phk, while more than half of the affected genes were carbon source specific. During growth on glucose medium, the transcriptome analysis showed that the response to phk over-expression is targeted to neutralize the effect of the over-expression by regulating the acetate metabolism and initiate a growth dampening response.
Metabolic flux analysis using 13C-labelled glucose, showed that over-expression of phosphoketolase added flexibility to the central metabolism. Our findings further suggests that A. nidulans is not optimized for growth on xylose, glycerol or ethanol as the sole carbon sources.
The carboxysome is a bacterial microcompartment that consists of a polyhedral protein shell filled with ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RubisCO), the enzyme that catalyzes the first step of CO2 fixation via the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle.
To analyze the role of RubisCO in carboxysome biogenesis in vivo we have created a series of Halothiobacillus neapolitanus RubisCO mutants. We identified the large subunit of the enzyme as an important determinant for its sequestration into α-carboxysomes and found that the carboxysomes of H. neapolitanus readily incorporate chimeric and heterologous RubisCO species. Intriguingly, a mutant lacking carboxysomal RubisCO assembles empty carboxysome shells of apparently normal shape and composition.
These results indicate that carboxysome shell architecture is not determined by the enzyme they normally sequester. Our study provides, for the first time, clear evidence that carboxysome contents can be manipulated and suggests future nanotechnological applications that are based upon engineered protein microcompartments.
The ammonium permease Mep2 is required for the induction of pseudohyphal growth, a process in Saccharomyces cerevisiae that occurs in response to nutrient limitation. Mep2 has both a transport and a regulatory function, supporting models in which Mep2 acts as a sensor of ammonium availability. Potentially similar ammonium permease-dependent regulatory cascades operate in other fungi, and they may also function in animals via the homologous Rh proteins; however, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that mediate ammonium sensing. We show that Mep2 is localized to the cell surface during pseudohyphal growth, and it is required for both filamentous and invasive growth. Analysis of site-directed Mep2 mutants in residues lining the ammonia-conducting channel reveal separation of function alleles (transport and signaling defective; transport-proficient/signaling defective), indicating transport is necessary but not sufficient to sense ammonia. Furthermore, Mep2 overexpression enhances differentiation under normally repressive conditions and induces a transcriptional profile that is consistent with activation of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway. This finding is supported by epistasis analysis establishing that the known role of the MAP kinase pathway in pseudohyphal growth is linked to Mep2 function. Together, these data strengthen the model that Mep2-like proteins are nutrient sensing transceptors that govern cellular differentiation.
The conserved AmtB/Mep/Rh family of proteins mediate the transport of ammonium across cellular membranes in a wide range of organisms. Certain fungal members of this group are required to initiate filamentous growth. We have investigated the functions of two members of the AmtB/Mep/Rh family from the pathogenic basidiomycete Cryptococcus neoformans. Amt1 and Amt2 are low- and high-affinity ammonium permeases, respectively, and a mutant lacking both permeases is unable to grow under ammonium-limiting conditions. AMT2 is transcriptionally induced in response to nitrogen limitation, whereas AMT1 is constitutively expressed. Single and double amt mutants exhibit wild-type virulence in two models of cryptococcosis. Consistent with this, the formation of two C. neoformans virulence factors, cell wall melanin and the extracellular polysaccharide capsule, is not impaired in cells lacking either or both of the Amt1 and Amt2 permeases. Amt2 is, however, required for the initiation of invasive growth of haploid cells under low-nitrogen conditions and for the mating of wild-type cells under the same conditions. We propose that Amt2 may be a new fungal ammonium sensor and an element of the signaling cascades that govern the mating of C. neoformans in response to environmental nutritional cues.
In Fusarium fujikuroi, the production of gibberellins and bikaverin is repressed by nitrogen sources such as glutamine or ammonium. Sensing and uptake of ammonium by specific permeases play key roles in nitrogen metabolism. Here, we describe the cloning of three ammonium permease genes, mepA, mepB, and mepC, and their participation in ammonium uptake and signal transduction in F. fujikuroi. The expression of all three genes is strictly regulated by the nitrogen regulator AreA. Severe growth defects of ΔmepB mutants on low-ammonium medium and methylamine uptake studies suggest that MepB functions as the main ammonium permease in F. fujikuroi. In ΔmepB mutants, nitrogen-regulated genes such as the gibberellin and bikaverin biosynthetic genes are derepressed in spite of high extracellular ammonium concentrations. mepA mepB and mepC mepB double mutants show a similar phenotype as ΔmepB mutants. All three F. fujikuroi mep genes fully complemented the Saccharomyces cerevisiae mep1 mep2 mep3 triple mutant to restore growth on low-ammonium medium, whereas only MepA and MepC restored pseudohyphal growth in the mep2/mep2 mutant. Overexpression of mepC in the ΔmepB mutants partially suppressed the growth defect but did not prevent derepression of AreA-regulated genes. These studies provide evidence that MepB functions as a regulatory element in a nitrogen sensing system in F. fujikuroi yet does not provide the sensor activity of Mep2 in yeast, indicating differences in the mechanisms by which nitrogen is sensed in S. cerevisiae and F. fujikuroi.