A single UDP-galactofuranose transporter is required for galactofuranosylation in Aspergillus fumigatus.
ABSTRACT: Galactofuranose (Galf) containing molecules have been described at the cell surface of several eukaryotes and shown to contribute to the virulence of the parasite Leishmania major and the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. It is anticipated that a number of the surface glycoconjugates such as N-glycans or glycolipids are galactofuranosylated in the Golgi apparatus. This raises the question of how the substrate for galactofuranosylation reactions, UDP-Galf, which is synthesized in the cytosol, translocates into the organelles of the secretory pathway. Here we report the first identification of a Golgi-localized nucleotide sugar transporter, named GlfB, with specificity for a UDP-Galf. In vitro transport assays established binding of UDP-Galf to GlfB and excluded transport of several other nucleotide sugars. Furthermore, the implication of glfB in the galactofuranosylation of A. fumigatus glycoconjugates and galactomannan was demonstrated by a targeted gene deletion approach. Our data reveal a direct connection between galactomannan and the organelles of the secretory pathway that strongly suggests that the cell wall-bound polysaccharide originates from its glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored form.
Project description:The cells walls of filamentous fungi in the genus Aspergillus have galactofuranose (Galf)-containing polysaccharides and glycoconjugates, including O-glycans, N-glycans, fungal-type galactomannan and glycosylinositolphosphoceramide, which are important for cell wall integrity. Here, we attempted to identify galactofuranosyltransferases that couple Galf monomers onto other wall components in Aspergillus nidulans. Using reverse-genetic and biochemical approaches, we identified that the AN8677 gene encoded a galactofuranosyltransferase, which we called GfsA, involved in Galf antigen biosynthesis. Disruption of gfsA reduced binding of ?-Galf-specific antibody EB-A2 to O-glycosylated WscA protein and galactomannoproteins. The results of an in-vitro Galf antigen synthase assay revealed that GfsA has ?1,5- or ?1,6-galactofuranosyltransferase activity for O-glycans in glycoproteins, uses UDP-d-Galf as a sugar donor, and requires a divalent manganese cation for activity. GfsA was found to be localized at the Golgi apparatus based on cellular fractionation experiments. ?gfsA cells exhibited an abnormal morphology characterized by poor hyphal extension, hyphal curvature and limited formation of conidia. Several gfsA orthologues were identified in members of the Pezizomycotina subphylum of Ascomycota, including the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. To our knowledge, this is the first characterization of a fungal ?-galactofuranosyltransferase, which was shown to be involved in Galf antigen biosynthesis of O-glycans in the Golgi.
Project description:The filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus is responsible for a lethal disease called invasive aspergillosis that affects immunocompromised patients. This disease, like other human fungal diseases, is generally treated by compounds targeting the primary fungal cell membrane sterol. Recently, glucan synthesis inhibitors were added to the limited antifungal arsenal and encouraged the search for novel targets in cell wall biosynthesis. Although galactomannan is a major component of the A. fumigatus cell wall and extracellular matrix, the biosynthesis and role of galactomannan are currently unknown. By a targeted gene deletion approach, we demonstrate that UDP-galactopyranose mutase, a key enzyme of galactofuranose metabolism, controls the biosynthesis of galactomannan and galactofuranose containing glycoconjugates. The glfA deletion mutant generated in this study is devoid of galactofuranose and displays attenuated virulence in a low-dose mouse model of invasive aspergillosis that likely reflects the impaired growth of the mutant at mammalian body temperature. Furthermore, the absence of galactofuranose results in a thinner cell wall that correlates with an increased susceptibility to several antifungal agents. The UDP-galactopyranose mutase thus appears to be an appealing adjunct therapeutic target in combination with other drugs against A. fumigatus. Its absence from mammalian cells indeed offers a considerable advantage to achieve therapeutic selectivity.
Project description:?-D-galactofuranose (Galf) is a component of polysaccharides and glycoconjugates and its transferase has been well analyzed. However, no ?-D-galactofuranosidase (Galf-ase) gene has been identified in any organism. To search for a Galf-ase gene we screened soil samples and discovered a strain, identified as a Streptomyces species by the 16S ribosomal RNA gene analysis, that exhibits Galf-ase activity for 4-nitrophenyl ?-D-galactofuranoside (pNP-?-D-Galf) in culture supernatants. By draft genome sequencing of the strain, named JHA19, we found four candidate genes encoding Galf-ases. Using recombinant proteins expressed in Escherichia coli, we found that three out of four candidates displayed the activity of not only Galf-ase but also ?-L-arabinofuranosidase (Araf-ase), whereas the other one showed only the Galf-ase activity. This novel Galf-specific hydrolase is encoded by ORF1110 and has an optimum pH of 5.5 and a Km of 4.4 mM for the substrate pNP-?-D-Galf. In addition, this enzyme was able to release galactose residue from galactomannan prepared from the filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, suggesting that natural polysaccharides could be also substrates. By the BLAST search using the amino acid sequence of ORF1110 Galf-ase, we found that there are homolog genes in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, indicating that Galf-specific Galf-ases widely exist in microorganisms.
Project description:The cell wall of Aspergillus fumigatus contains two galactose-containing polysaccharides, galactomannan and galactosaminogalactan, whose biosynthetic pathways are not well understood. The A. fumigatus genome contains three genes encoding putative UDP-glucose 4-epimerases, uge3, uge4, and uge5. We undertook this study to elucidate the function of these epimerases. We found that uge4 is minimally expressed and is not required for the synthesis of galactose-containing exopolysaccharides or galactose metabolism. Uge5 is the dominant UDP-glucose 4-epimerase in A. fumigatus and is essential for normal growth in galactose-based medium. Uge5 is required for synthesis of the galactofuranose (Galf) component of galactomannan and contributes galactose to the synthesis of galactosaminogalactan. Uge3 can mediate production of both UDP-galactose and UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc) and is required for the production of galactosaminogalactan but not galactomannan. In the absence of Uge5, Uge3 activity is sufficient for growth on galactose and the synthesis of galactosaminogalactan containing lower levels of galactose but not the synthesis of Galf. A double deletion of uge5 and uge3 blocked growth on galactose and synthesis of both Galf and galactosaminogalactan. This study is the first survey of glucose epimerases in A. fumigatus and contributes to our understanding of the role of these enzymes in metabolism and cell wall synthesis.
Project description:Aspergillus fumigatus is an opportunistic human pathogenic fungus responsible for deadly lung infections in immunocompromised individuals. Galactofuranose (Galf) residues are essential components of the cell wall and play an important role in A. fumigatus virulence. The flavoenzyme UDP-galactopyranose mutase (UGM) catalyzes the isomerization of UDP-galactopyranose to UDP-galactofuranose, the biosynthetic precursor of Galf. Thus, inhibitors of UGM that block the biosynthesis of Galf can lead to novel chemotherapeutics for treating A. fumigatus-related diseases. Here, we describe the synthesis of fluorescently labeled UDP analogs and the development of a fluorescence polarization (FP) binding assay for A. fumigatus UGM (AfUGM). High-affinity binding to AfUGM was only obtained with the chromophore TAMRA, linked to UDP by either 2 or 6 carbons with K(d) values of 2.6 ± 0.2??M and 3.0 ± 0.7??M, respectively. These values were ~6 times lower than when UDP was linked to fluorescein. The FP assay was validated against several known ligands and displayed an excellent Z' factor (0.79 ± 0.02) and good tolerance to dimethyl sulfoxide.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Galactofuranose (Galf)-containing glycoconjugates are important to secure the integrity of the cell wall of filamentous fungi. Mutations that prevent the biosynthesis of Galf-containing molecules compromise cell wall integrity. In response to cell wall weakening, the cell wall integrity (CWI)-pathway is activated to reinforce the strength of the cell wall. Activation of CWI-pathway in Aspergillus niger is characterized by the specific induction of the agsA gene, which encodes a cell wall ?-glucan synthase. RESULTS:In this study, we screened a collection of cell wall mutants with an induced expression of agsA for defects in Galf biosynthesis using a with anti-Galf antibody (L10). From this collection of mutants, we previously identified mutants in the UDP-galactopyranose mutase encoding gene (ugmA). Here, we have identified six additional UDP-galactopyranose mutase (ugmA) mutants and one mutant (named mutant #41) in an additional complementation group that displayed strongly reduced Galf-levels in the cell wall. By using a whole genome sequencing approach, 21 SNPs in coding regions were identified between mutant #41 and its parental strain which changed the amino acid sequence of the encoded proteins. One of these mutations was in gene An14g03820, which codes for a putative UDP-glucose-4-epimerase (UgeA). The A to G mutation in this gene causes an amino acid change of Asn to Asp at position 191 in the UgeA protein. Targeted deletion of ugeA resulted in an even more severe reduction of Galf in N-linked glucans, indicating that the UgeA protein in mutant #41 is partially active. The ugeA gene is also required for growth on galactose despite the presence of two UgeA homologs in the A. niger genome. CONCLUSION:By using a classical mutant screen and whole genome sequencing of a new Galf-deficient mutant, the UDP-glucose-4-epimerase gene (ugeA) has been identified. UgeA is required for the biosynthesis of Galf as well as for galactose metabolism in Aspergillus niger.
Project description:UDP-galactopyranose mutases (UGM) are the enzymes responsible for the synthesis of UDP-galactofuranose (UDP-Galf) from UDP-galactopyranose (UDP-Galp). The enzyme, encoded by the glf gene, is present in bacteria, parasites, and fungi that express Galf in their glycoconjugates. Recently, a UGM homologue encoded by the cj1439 gene has been identified in Campylobacter jejuni 11168, an organism possessing no Galf-containing glycoconjugates. However, the capsular polysaccharide from this strain contains a 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-d-galactofuranose (GalfNAc) moiety. Using an in vitro high performance liquid chromatography assay and complementation studies, we characterized the activity of this UGM homologue. The enzyme, which we have renamed UDP-N-acetylgalactopyranose mutase (UNGM), has relaxed specificity and can use either UDP-Gal or UDP-GalNAc as a substrate. Complementation studies of mutase knock-outs in C. jejuni 11168 and Escherichia coli W3110, the latter containing Galf residues in its lipopolysaccharide, demonstrated that the enzyme recognizes both UDP-Gal and UDP-GalNAc in vivo. A homology model of UNGM and site-directed mutagenesis led to the identification of two active site amino acid residues involved in the recognition of the UDP-GalNAc substrate. The specificity of UNGM was characterized using a two-substrate co-incubation assay, which demonstrated, surprisingly, that UDP-Gal is a better substrate than UDP-GalNAc.
Project description:Fungal cell walls frequently contain a polymer of mannose and galactose called galactomannan. In the pathogenic filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, this polysaccharide is made of a linear mannan backbone with side chains of galactofuran and is anchored to the plasma membrane via a glycosylphosphatidylinositol or is covalently linked to the cell wall. To date, the biosynthesis and significance of this polysaccharide are unknown. The present data demonstrate that deletion of the Golgi UDP-galactofuranose transporter GlfB or the GDP-mannose transporter GmtA leads to the absence of galactofuran or galactomannan, respectively. This indicates that the biosynthesis of galactomannan probably occurs in the lumen of the Golgi apparatus and thus contrasts with the biosynthesis of other fungal cell wall polysaccharides studied to date that takes place at the plasma membrane. Transglycosylation of galactomannan from the membrane to the cell wall is hypothesized because both the cell wall-bound and membrane-bound polysaccharide forms are affected in the generated mutants. Considering the severe growth defect of the A. fumigatus GmtA-deficient mutant, proving this paradigm might provide new targets for antifungal therapy.
Project description:The biosynthesis of cell surface-located galactofuranose (Galf)-containing glycostructures such as galactomannan, N-glycans and O-glycans in filamentous fungi is important to secure the integrity of the cell wall. UgmA encodes an UDP-galactopyranose mutase, which is essential for the formation of Galf. Consequently, the ?ugmA mutant lacks Galf-containing molecules. Our previous work in Aspergillus niger work suggested that loss of function of ugmA results in activation of the cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway which is characterized by increased expression of the agsA gene, encoding an ?-glucan synthase. In this study, the transcriptional response of the ?ugmA mutant was further linked to the CWI pathway by showing the induced and constitutive phosphorylation of the CWI-MAP kinase in the ?ugmA mutant. To identify genes involved in cell wall remodelling in response to the absence of galactofuranose biosynthesis, a genome-wide expression analysis was performed using RNAseq. Over 400 genes were higher expressed in the ?ugmA mutant compared to the wild-type. These include genes that encode enzymes involved in chitin (gfaB, gnsA, chsA) and ?-glucan synthesis (agsA), and in ?-glucan remodelling (bgxA, gelF and dfgC), and also include several glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored cell wall protein-encoding genes. In silico analysis of the 1-kb promoter regions of the up-regulated genes in the ?ugmA mutant indicated overrepresentation of genes with RlmA, MsnA, PacC and SteA-binding sites. The importance of these transcription factors for survival of the ?ugmA mutant was analysed by constructing the respective double mutants. The ?ugmA/?rlmA and ?ugmA/?msnA double mutants showed strong synthetic growth defects, indicating the importance of these transcription factors to maintain cell wall integrity in the absence of Galf biosynthesis.
Project description:Nematodes represent a diverse phylum of both free living and parasitic species. While the species Caenorhabditis elegans is a valuable model organism, parasitic nematodes or helminths pose a serious threat to human health. Indeed, helminths cause many neglected tropical diseases that afflict humans. Nematode glycoconjugates have been implicated in evasive immunomodulation, a hallmark of nematode infections. One monosaccharide residue present in the glycoconjugates of several human pathogens is galactofuranose (Galf). This five-membered ring isomer of galactose has not been detected in mammals, making Galf metabolic enzymes attractive therapeutic targets. The only known pathway for biosynthetic incorporation of Galf into glycoconjugates depends upon generation of the glycosyl donor UDP-Galf by the flavoenzyme uridine 5'-diphosphate (UDP) galactopyranose mutase (UGM or Glf). A putative UGM encoding gene (glf-1) was recently identified in C. elegans. We sought to assess the catalytic activity of the corresponding gene product (CeUGM). CeUGM catalyzes the isomerization of UDP-Galf and UDP-galactopyranose (UDP-Galp). In the presence of enzyme, substrate, and a hydride source, a galactose-N5-FAD adduct was isolated, suggesting the CeUGM flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) cofactor serves as a nucleophile in covalent catalysis. Homology modeling and protein variants indicate that CeUGM possesses an active site similar to that of prokaryotic enzymes, despite the low sequence identity (?15%) between eukaryotic and prokaryotic UGM proteins. Even with the primary sequence differences, heterocyclic UGM inhibitors developed against prokaryotic proteins also inhibit CeUGM activity. We postulate that inhibitors of CeUGM can serve as chemical probes of Galf in nematodes and as anthelmintic leads. The available data suggest that CeUGM facilitates the biosynthetic incorporation of Galf into nematode glycoconjugates through generation of the glycosyl donor UDP-Galf.