- Set3 Is Required for Asexual Development, Aflatoxin Biosynthesis, and Fungal Virulence in Aspergillus flavus. [Journal Article]
- FMFront Microbiol 2019; 10:530
- Aspergillus flavus is an opportunistic pathogenic fungus for both plant and animal that produces carcinogenic toxins termed aflatoxins (AFs). To identify possible genetic targets to reduce AF contami…
Aspergillus flavus is an opportunistic pathogenic fungus for both plant and animal that produces carcinogenic toxins termed aflatoxins (AFs). To identify possible genetic targets to reduce AF contamination, in this study, we have characterized a novel A. flavus Set3, and it shares sequence homology with the yeast protein Set3. The set3 deletion mutants present no difference in growth rate but alterations in asexual development and secondary metabolite production when compared to the A. flavus wild type. Specifically, deletion of set3 gene decreases conidiophore formation and conidial production through downregulating expression of brlA and abaA genes. In addition, normal levels of set3 are required for sclerotial development and expression of sclerotia-related genes nsdC and sclR. Further analyses demonstrated that Set3 negatively regulates AF production as well as the concomitant expression of genes in the AF gene cluster. Importantly, our results also display that A. flavus Set3 is involved in crop kernel colonization. Taking together, these results reveal that a novel Set3 plays crucial roles in morphological development, secondary metabolism, and fungal virulence in A. flavus.
- Heterologous expression and functional characterization of the ligand-binding domain of oxysterol-binding protein from Aspergillus oryzae. [Journal Article]
- BJBraz J Microbiol 2019; 50(2):415-424
- Oxysterol-binding proteins (OSBPs) comprise a family of sterol-binding proteins. In this study, we focused on AoOSBP1, one of the five OSBP proteins identified from the industrial fungus Aspergillus …
Oxysterol-binding proteins (OSBPs) comprise a family of sterol-binding proteins. In this study, we focused on AoOSBP1, one of the five OSBP proteins identified from the industrial fungus Aspergillus oryzae. The temporal expression pattern analysis showed that the expression of AoOSBP1, in both gene and protein levels, was stably expressed throughout the developmental stages, while was upregulated during the accelerated growth stage. The immunofluorescence observation revealed that AoOSBP1 protein was mainly distributed in the conidiophore, indicating its underlying role in spore formation. The ligand-binding domain of AoOSBP1, namely OSBP-related domain (ORD), was heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. The binding assay carried out using microscale thermophoresis showed that the recombinant AoORD protein exhibited binding affinity for ergosterol, and exhibited much higher affinity to oxysterols (25-hydroxycholesterol and 7-ketocholesterol) and phytosterols (β-sitosterol and stigmasterol). By contrast, MBP tag as the negative control showed no binding affinity for sterols. The present work demonstrates that AoORD domain in AoOSBP1 is capable of binding sterols, plays an underlying role in sterols transportation, and may participate in spore formation.
- More pieces to a huge puzzle: Two new Escovopsis species from fungus gardens of attine ants. [Journal Article]
- MMycoKeys 2019; (46):97-118
- Escovopsis (Ascomycota: Hypocreales, Hypocreaceae) is the only known parasite of the mutualistic fungi cultivated by fungus-growing ants (Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Attini: Attina, the "attines"). Despi…
Escovopsis (Ascomycota: Hypocreales, Hypocreaceae) is the only known parasite of the mutualistic fungi cultivated by fungus-growing ants (Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Attini: Attina, the "attines"). Despite its ecological role, the taxonomy and systematics of Escovopsis have been poorly addressed. Here, based on morphological and phylogenetic analyses with three molecular markers (internal transcribed spacer, large subunit ribosomal RNA and the translation elongation factor 1-alpha), we describe Escovopsisclavatus and E.multiformis as new species isolated from fungus gardens of Apterostigma ant species. Our analysis shows that E.clavatus and E.multiformis belong to the most derived Escovopsis clade, whose main character is the presence of conidiophores with vesicles. Nevertheless, the most outstanding feature of both new species is the presence of a swollen region in the central hypha of the conidiophore named swollen cell, which is absent in all previously described Escovopsis species. The less derived Escovopsis clades lack vesicles and their phylogenetic position within the Hypocreaceae still remains unclear. Considering the high genetic diversity in Escovopsis, the description of these new species adds barely two pieces to a huge taxonomic puzzle; however, this discovery is an important piece for building the systematics of this group of fungi.
- Molecular Characteristics of the Conserved Aspergillus nidulans Transcription Factor Mac1 and Its Functions in Response to Copper Starvation. [Journal Article]
- MmSphere 2019 01 30; 4(1)
- Copper (Cu) is an essential trace element in all organisms, and Cu acquisition during periods of starvation is important for cell survival and proliferation. Although the Cu starvation-responsive tra…
Copper (Cu) is an essential trace element in all organisms, and Cu acquisition during periods of starvation is important for cell survival and proliferation. Although the Cu starvation-responsive transcription factor Mac1 as well as its targeted Cu transporters have been identified in Aspergillus fumigatus, the molecular mechanisms of Mac1-mediated Cu acquisition have not yet been investigated in Aspergillus We demonstrated that Mac1 and its regulated Cu transporters are required for growth and conidiophore development during Cu starvation in Aspergillus nidulans Moreover, A. nidulans Mac1 (AnMac1) showed highly functional conservation with the A. fumigatus homolog but not with homologs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe Molecular characterization of Mac1 in A. nidulans demonstrated that the "Cu fist" motif (i.e., residues 1 through 40) harboring Cys, RGHR, and GRP residues is required for the Mac1-mediated low-Cu response but not the Cys-rich motifs REP-I and REP-II. Notably, overexpression of either the CtrA2 Cu transporter or the CtrC Cu transporter individually was unable to functionally rescue the defects in the AnMac1 deletion strain, implying that Cu uptake might require both CtrA2 and CtrC during Cu starvation, which is different from results seen with A. fumigatus Findings in this study further suggest that the conserved Mac1-mediated Cu uptake machinery in A. fumigatus and A. nidulans is also species specific.IMPORTANCE Copper is an essential cofactor of enzymes during a variety of biochemical processes. Therefore, Cu acquisition plays critical roles in cell survival and proliferation, especially during Cu starvation. Knowledge of the key motif(s) by which the low-Cu-responsive transcription factor Mac1 senses Cu is important for understanding how Cu uptake is controlled. Findings in this study demonstrated that the Cu fist motif, but not Cys-rich motifs, is essential for Mac1-mediated Cu uptake in Aspergillus In addition, Cu transporters CtrA2 and CtrC are both required for Mac1-mediated Cu uptake during Cu starvation in A. nidulans, indicating that species-specific machinery exists for Cu acquisition in Aspergillus.
- The phospholipid flippase DnfD localizes to late Golgi and is involved in asexual differentiation in Aspergillus nidulans. [Journal Article]
- MMycologia 2019 Jan-Feb; 111(1):13-25
- The maintenance of cell shape requires finely tuned and robust vesicle trafficking in order to provide sufficient plasma membrane materials. The hyphal cells of filamentous fungi are an extreme examp…
The maintenance of cell shape requires finely tuned and robust vesicle trafficking in order to provide sufficient plasma membrane materials. The hyphal cells of filamentous fungi are an extreme example of cell shape maintenance due to their ability to grow rapidly and respond to the environment while keeping a relatively consistent shape. We have previously shown that two phospholipid flippases, which regulate the asymmetry of specific phospholipids within the plasma membrane, are important for hyphal growth in Aspergillus nidulans. Here, we examine the rest of the phospholipid flippases encoded by A. nidulans by obtaining single and double deletions of all four family members, dnfA, dnfB, dnfC, and dnfD. We find that deleting dnfC does not impart a noticeable phenotype, by itself or with other deletions, but that dnfD, the homolog of the essential yeast gene neo1, is important for conidiation. dnfD deletion mutants form misshapen conidiophore vesicles that are defective in metulae formation. We localize DnfD to late Golgi equivalents, where it appears just before dissociation of this organelle. We propose that DnfD functions in a trafficking process that is specifically required for the morphological changes that take place during conidiation.
- Evolution of asexual and sexual reproduction in the aspergilli. [Journal Article]
- SMStud Mycol 2018; 91:37-59
- Aspergillus nidulans has long-been used as a model organism to gain insights into the genetic basis of asexual and sexual developmental processes both in other members of the genus Aspergillus, and f…
Aspergillus nidulans has long-been used as a model organism to gain insights into the genetic basis of asexual and sexual developmental processes both in other members of the genus Aspergillus, and filamentous fungi in general. Paradigms have been established concerning the regulatory mechanisms of conidial development. However, recent studies have shown considerable genome divergence in the fungal kingdom, questioning the general applicability of findings from Aspergillus, and certain longstanding evolutionary theories have been questioned. The phylogenetic distribution of key regulatory elements of asexual reproduction in A. nidulans was investigated in a broad taxonomic range of fungi. This revealed that some proteins were well conserved in the Pezizomycotina (e.g. AbaA, FlbA, FluG, NsdD, MedA, and some velvet proteins), suggesting similar developmental roles. However, other elements (e.g. BrlA) had a more restricted distribution solely in the Eurotiomycetes, and it appears that the genetic control of sporulation seems to be more complex in the aspergilli than in some other taxonomic groups of the Pezizomycotina. The evolution of the velvet protein family is discussed based on the history of expansion and contraction events in the early divergent fungi. Heterologous expression of the A. nidulans abaA gene in Monascus ruber failed to induce development of complete conidiophores as seen in the aspergilli, but did result in increased conidial production. The absence of many components of the asexual developmental pathway from members of the Saccharomycotina supports the hypothesis that differences in the complexity of their spore formation is due in part to the increased diversity of the sporulation machinery evident in the Pezizomycotina. Investigations were also made into the evolution of sex and sexuality in the aspergilli. MAT loci were identified from the heterothallic Aspergillus (Emericella) heterothallicus and Aspergillus (Neosartorya) fennelliae and the homothallic Aspergillus pseudoglaucus (=Eurotium repens). A consistent architecture of the MAT locus was seen in these and other heterothallic aspergilli whereas much variation was seen in the arrangement of MAT loci in homothallic aspergilli. This suggested that it is most likely that the common ancestor of the aspergilli exhibited a heterothallic breeding system. Finally, the supposed prevalence of asexuality in the aspergilli was examined. Investigations were made using A. clavatus as a representative 'asexual' species. It was possible to induce a sexual cycle in A. clavatus given the correct MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 partners and environmental conditions, with recombination confirmed utilising molecular markers. This indicated that sexual reproduction might be possible in many supposedly asexual aspergilli and beyond, providing general insights into the nature of asexuality in fungi.
- SakA and MpkC Stress MAPKs Show Opposite and Common Functions During Stress Responses and Development in Aspergillus nidulans. [Journal Article]
- FMFront Microbiol 2018; 9:2518
- Stress activated MAP kinases (SAPKs) of the Hog1/Sty1/p38 family are specialized in transducing stress signals. In contrast to what is seen in animal cells, very few fungal species contain more than …
Stress activated MAP kinases (SAPKs) of the Hog1/Sty1/p38 family are specialized in transducing stress signals. In contrast to what is seen in animal cells, very few fungal species contain more than one SAPK. Aspergillus nidulans and other Aspergilli contain two SAPKs called SakA/HogA and MpkC. We have shown that SakA is essential for conidia to maintain their viability and to survive high H2O2 concentrations. H2O2 induces SakA nuclear accumulation and its interaction with transcription factor AtfA. Although SakA and MpkC show physical interaction, little is known about MpkC functions. Here we show that ΔmpkC mutants are not sensitive to oxidative stress but in fact MpkC inactivation partially restores the oxidative stress resistance of ΔsakA mutants. ΔmpkC mutants display about twofold increase in the production of fully viable conidia. The inactivation of the SakA upstream MAPKK PbsB or the simultaneous elimination of sakA and mpkC result in virtually identical phenotypes, including decreased radial growth, a drastic reduction of conidiation and a sharp, progressive loss of conidial viability. SakA and to a minor extent MpkC also regulate cell-wall integrity. Given the roles of MpkC in conidiation and oxidative stress sensitivity, we used a functional MpkC::GFP fusion to determine MpkC nuclear localization as an in vivo indicator of MpkC activation during asexual development and stress. MpkC is mostly localized in the cytoplasm of intact conidia, accumulates in nuclei during the first 2 h of germination and then becomes progressively excluded from nuclei in growing hyphae. In the conidiophore, MpkC nuclear accumulation increases in vesicles, metulae and phialides and decreases in older conidia. Oxidative and osmotic stresses induce MpkC nuclear accumulation in both germinating conidia and hyphae. In all these cases, MpkC nuclear accumulation is largely dependent on the MAPKK PbsB. Our results indicate that SakA and MpkC play major, distinct and sometimes opposing roles in conidiation and conidiospore physiology, as well as common roles in response to stress. We propose that two SAPKs are necessary to delay (MpkC) or fully stop (SakA) mitosis during conidiogenesis and the terminal differentiation of conidia, in the highly prolific phialoconidiation process characteristic of the Aspergilli.
- ANXC7 Is a Mitochondrion-Localized Annexin Involved in Controlling Conidium Development and Oxidative Resistance in the Thermophilic Fungus Thermomyces lanuginosus. [Journal Article]
- FMFront Microbiol 2018; 9:1770
- Annexins (ANXs) are widely expressed and structurally related proteins which play multiple biological roles in animals, plants, and fungi. Although ANXs have been localized to the cytosol and the cel…
Annexins (ANXs) are widely expressed and structurally related proteins which play multiple biological roles in animals, plants, and fungi. Although ANXs have been localized to the cytosol and the cell membrane and the molecular basis of the four annexin repeats is well established, the in vivo roles of these proteins are still far from clear, particularly with regard to the filamentous fungi. Thermomyces lanuginosus, a thermophilic fungus, is widely used in the fermentation industry; however, the role of ANX in this organism is unknown. In this study, a single ANX homologue (ANXC7) was identified and characterized in T. lanuginosus. The expression pattern indicated that ANXC7 is closely associated to conidium development, and it accumulated in the mitochondria of the forming conidia. The deletion of ANXC7 (ΔANXC7) resulted in no obvious phenotype related to colony growth on solid CM medium. However, when ΔANXC7 was grown in CM liquid culture, the mycelium masses appeared to be larger and looser compared to the wild-type. Additionally, the dry weight of the mutant mycelia was significantly increased. Under conditions that compromise cell-wall integrity, ΔANXC7 was less vulnerable than the wild-type with regard to such damage. Moreover, based on a surface hydrophobicity test, the ΔANXC7 strain was clearly less hydrophobic. The growth of ΔANXC7 was inhibited when grown under selected stress conditions, particularly with regard to salt stress; however, the oxidative resistance to exogenous H2O2 in ΔANXC7 was increased, and endogenous H2O2 levels within the ΔANXC7 were lower than in the wild-type, thereby suggesting that the ANXC7 specifically controls oxidative resistance. Based on microscopic observation, 4-day-conidia were more prevalent than 5-day conidia on the conidiophore stalk of ΔANXC7, even though the ΔANXC7 demonstrated an increased production of conidia during these days, indicating precocious conidial maturation and shedding from the conidiophore stalk in this strain. Taken together, our data indicate that ANXC7 localizes to the mitochondria and is involved in controlling conidium development and oxidative resistance in T. lanuginosus.
- Three new Leptographium spp. (Ophiostomatales) infecting hardwood trees in Norway and Poland. [Journal Article]
- AVAntonie Van Leeuwenhoek 2018; 111(12):2323-2347
- Species of Leptographium are characterized by mononematous or synnematous conidiophores and are commonly associated with different arthropods. Some of them also produce a sexual state characterised b…
Species of Leptographium are characterized by mononematous or synnematous conidiophores and are commonly associated with different arthropods. Some of them also produce a sexual state characterised by globose ascomata with elongated necks. Compared to investigations on coniferous trees, the occurrence of Leptographium species on hardwood trees has been poorly studied in Europe. During a survey of ophiostomatoid fungi on various hardwood tree species in Norway and Poland, three unusual species, which fit in the broader morphological description of Leptographium spp., were found in association with Trypodendron domesticum, Trypodendron signatum and Dryocoetes alni, and from wounds on a variety of hardwoods. Phylogenetic analyses of sequence data for six different loci (ITS1-5.8 S-ITS2, ITS2-LSU, ACT, β-tubulin, CAL, and TEF-1α) showed that these Leptographium species are phylogenetically closely related to the species of the Grosmannia olivacea complex. The first species forms a well-supported lineage that includes Ophiostoma brevicolle, while the two other new taxa resided in a separate lineage; possibly affiliated with Grosmannia francke-grosmanniae. All the new species produce perithecia with necks terminating in ostiolar hyphae and orange-section shaped ascospores with cucullate, gelatinous sheaths. These species also produce dark olivaceous mononematous asexual states in culture. In addition, two of the newly described species have a second type of conidiophore with a short and non-pigmented stipe. The new Leptographium species can be easily distinguished from each other by their appearance and growth in culture. Based on novel morphological characters and distinct DNA sequences, these fungi were recognised as new taxa for which the names Leptographium tardum sp. nov., Leptographium vulnerum sp. nov., and Leptographium flavum sp. nov. are provided.
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- Alternaria brassicifolii sp. nov. Isolated from Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis in Korea. [Journal Article]
- MMycobiology 2018; 46(2):172-176
- A new species belonging to the genus Alternaria was isolated from the necrotic leaf spots of Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis in Yuseong district, Daejeon, Korea. It is an occasional isolate, not an e…
A new species belonging to the genus Alternaria was isolated from the necrotic leaf spots of Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis in Yuseong district, Daejeon, Korea. It is an occasional isolate, not an etiological agent, which is morphologically similar to A. broccoli-italicae, but differs in conidial size and conidiophore shape. Phylogenetic analysis using the sequence datasets of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the rDNA, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (gpd), and plasma membrane ATPase genes showed that it is distantly related to A. broccoli-italicae and closely related to Alternaria species in the section Pseudoalternaria, which belonged to a clade basal to the section Infectoriae. Morphologically, the species is unique because it produces solitary conidia or conidial chains (two units), unlike the four members in the section Pseudoalternaria that produce conidia as short branched chains. It exhibits weak pathogenicity in the host plant. This report includes the description and illustration of A. brassicifolii as a new species.