Two cation transporters Ena1 and Nha1 cooperatively modulate ion homeostasis, antifungal drug resistance, and virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans via the HOG pathway.
ABSTRACT: Maintenance of cation homeostasis is essential for survival of all living organisms in their biological niches. It is also important for the survival of human pathogenic fungi in the host, where cation concentrations and pH will vary depending on different anatomical sites. However, the exact role of diverse cation transporters and ion channels in virulence of fungal pathogens remains elusive. In this study we functionally characterized ENA1 and NHA1, encoding a putative Na(+)/ATPase and Na(+)/H(+) antiporter, respectively, in Cryptococcus neoformans, a basidiomycete fungal pathogen which causes fatal meningoencephalitis. Expression of NHA1 and ENA1 is induced in response to salt and osmotic shock mainly in a Hog1-dependent manner. Phenotypic analysis of the ena1?, nha1?, and ena1?nha1? mutants revealed that Ena1 controls cellular levels of toxic cations, such as Na(+) and Li(+) whereas both Ena1 and Nha1 are important for controlling less toxic K(+) ions. Under alkaline conditions, Ena1 was highly induced and required for growth in the presence of low levels of Na(+) or K(+) salt and Nha1 played a role in survival under K(+) stress. In contrast, Nha1, but not Ena1, was essential for survival at acidic conditions (pH 4.5) under high K(+) stress. In addition, Ena1 and Nha1 were required for maintenance of plasma membrane potential and stability, which appeared to modulate antifungal drug susceptibility. Perturbation of ENA1 and NHA1 enhanced capsule production and melanin synthesis. However, Nha1 was dispensable for virulence of C. neoformans although Ena1 was essential. In conclusion, Ena1 and Nha1 play redundant and discrete roles in cation homeostasis, pH regulation, membrane potential, and virulence in C. neoformans, suggesting that these transporters could be novel antifungal drug targets for treatment of cryptococcosis.
Project description:A library of more than 4,500 signature-tagged insertion mutants of the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans was generated, and a subset was screened in a murine inhalation model to identify genes required for virulence. New genes that regulate aspects of C. neoformans virulence were also identified by screening the entire library for in vitro phenotypes related to the ability to cause disease, including melanin production, growth at high temperature, and growth under conditions of nutrient limitation. A screen of 10% of the strain collection in mice identified an avirulent mutant strain with an insertion in the ENA1 gene, which is predicted to encode a fungus-specific sodium or potassium P-type ATPase. The results of the deletion of the gene and complementation experiments confirmed its key role in mammalian virulence. ena1 mutant strains exhibited no change in sensitivity to high salt concentrations but were sensitive to alkaline pH conditions, providing evidence that the fungus may have to survive at elevated pH during infection of the mammalian host. The mutation of the well-characterized virulence factor calcineurin (CNA1) also rendered C. neoformans strains sensitive to elevated pH. ENA1 transcripts in wild-type and cna1 mutant strains were upregulated in response to high pH, and cna1 ena1 double mutant strains exhibited increased sensitivity to elevated pH, indicating that at least two pathways in the fungus mediate survival under alkaline conditions. Signature-tagged mutagenesis is an effective strategy for the discovery of new virulence genes in fungal pathogens of animals.
Project description:Fungi possess efficient mechanisms of pH and ion homeostasis, allowing them to grow over a wide range of environmental conditions. In this study, we addressed the role of the pH response transcription factor PacC in salt tolerance of the vascular wilt pathogen Fusarium oxysporum. Loss-of-function pacC(+/-) mutants showed increased sensitivity to Li(+) and Na(+) and accumulated higher levels of these cations than the wild type. In contrast, strains expressing a dominant activating pacC(c) allele were more salt tolerant and had lower intracellular Li(+) and Na(+) concentrations. Although the kinetics of Li(+) influx were not altered by mutations in pacC, we found that Li(+) efflux at an alkaline, but not at an acidic, ambient pH was significantly reduced in pacC(+/-) loss-of-function mutants. To explore the presence of a PacC-dependent efflux mechanism in F. oxysporum, we cloned ena1 encoding an orthologue of the yeast P-type Na(+)-ATPase ENA1. Northern analysis revealed that efficient transcriptional activation of ena1 in F. oxysporum required the presence of high Na(+) concentrations and alkaline ambient pH and was dependent on PacC function. We propose a model in which PacC controls ion homeostasis in F. oxysporum at a high pH by activating expression of ena1 coordinately with a second Na(+)-responsive signaling pathway.
Project description:Under iron (Fe) deficiency, graminaceous plants produce and secrete Fe-chelating phytosiderophores of the mugineic acid (MA) family into the rhizosphere to solubilize and mediate uptake of sparingly soluble Fe in the soil. MAs and their biosynthetic intermediate, nicotianamine (NA), are also important for the translocation of divalent metals such as Fe and zinc (Zn) throughout the plant body. In this study, the physiological role of the efflux transporter EFFLUX TRANSPORTER OF NA (ENA1), which exports NA out of cells, was analyzed in rice. Promoter-GUS analysis showed that ENA1 was mainly expressed in roots, and strongly upregulated under Fe-deficient conditions. In epidermal onion cells and rice roots, green fluorescent protein-tagged ENA1 localized mainly to the plasma membrane, while a part of the fluorescence was observed in vesicular structures in the cytoplasm. In the younger stage after germination, ENA1-overexpressing rice plants exhibited truncated roots with many root hairs compared to wild-type plants, while these phenotype were not observed in high Zn-containing medium. In Arabidopsis, which use a different strategy for Fe uptake from rice, ENA1 overexpression did not show any apparent phenotypes. Oligo DNA microarray analysis in rice showed that ENA1 knockout affects the response to stress, especially in root plastids. These results suggest that ENA1 might be recycling between the plasma membrane and cellular compartments by vesicular transport, playing an important role in the transport of NA, which is important for the physiological response to Fe deficiency.
Project description:Regulated expression of the Ena1 Na+-ATPase is a crucial event for adaptation to high salt and/or alkaline pH stress in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. ENA1 expression is under the control of diverse signaling pathways, including that mediated by the calcium-regulatable protein phosphatase calcineurin and its downstream transcription factor Crz1. We present here a quantitative study of the expression of Ena1 in response to alkalinization of the environment and we analyze the contribution of Crz1 to this response. Experimental data and mathematical models substantiate the existence of two stress-responsive Crz1-binding sites in the ENA1 promoter and estimate that the contribution of Crz1 to the early response of the ENA1 promoter is about 60%. The models suggest the existence of a second input with similar kinetics, which would be likely mediated by high pH-induced activation of the Snf1 kinase.
Project description:ENA1 and ENA2 are P-type IID/ENA Na+/K+-ATPases required for cellular homeostasis in yeasts but remain poorly understood in filamentous fungal insect pathogens. Here, we characterized seven genes encoding five ENA1/2 homologues (ENA1a-c and ENA2a/b) and two P-type IIC/NK Na+/K+-ATPases (NK1/2) in Beauveria bassiana, an insect-pathogenic fungus serving as a main source of fungal insecticides worldwide. Most of these genes were highly responsive to alkaline pH and Na+/K+ cues at transcription level. Cellular Na+, K+ and H+ homeostasis was disturbed only in the absence of ena1a or ena2b. The disturbed homeostasis featured acceleration of vacuolar acidification, elevation of cytosolic Na+/K+ level at pH 5.0 to 9.0, and stabilization of extracellular H+ level to initial pH 7.5 during a 5-day period of submerged incubation. Despite little defect in hyphal growth and asexual development, the ?ena1a and ?ena2b mutants were less tolerant to metal cations (Na+, K+, Li+, Zn2+, Mn2+ and Fe3+), cell wall perturbation, oxidation, non-cation hyperosmolarity and UVB irradiation, severely compromised in insect pathogenicity via normal cuticle infection, and attenuated in virulence via hemocoel injection. The deletion mutants of five other ENA and NK genes showed little change in vacuolar pH and all examined phenotypes. Therefore, only ENA1a and ENA2b evidently involved in both transmembrane and vacuolar activities are essential for cellular cation homeostasis, insect pathogenicity and multiple stress tolerance in B. bassiana. These findings provide a novel insight into ENA1a- and ENA2b-dependent vacuolar pH stability, cation-homeostatic process and fungal fitness to host insect and environment.
Project description:The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has two main high-affinity inorganic phosphate (Pi) transporters, Pho84 and Pho89, that are functionally relevant at acidic/neutral pH and alkaline pH, respectively. Upon Pi starvation, PHO84 and PHO89 are induced by the activation of the PHO regulon by the binding of the Pho4 transcription factor to specific promoter sequences. We show that PHO89 and PHO84 are induced by alkalinization of the medium with different kinetics and that the network controlling Pho89 expression in response to alkaline pH differs from that of other members of the PHO regulon. In addition to Pho4, the PHO89 promoter is regulated by the transcriptional activator Crz1 through the calcium-activated phosphatase calcineurin, and it is under the control of several repressors (Mig2, Nrg1, and Nrg2) coordinately regulated by the Snf1 protein kinase and the Rim101 transcription factor. This network mimics the one regulating expression of the Na(+)-ATPase gene ENA1, encoding a major determinant for Na(+) detoxification. Our data highlight a scenario in which the activities of Pho89 and Ena1 are functionally coordinated to sustain growth in an alkaline environment.
Project description:Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that encounters various microenvironments during growth in the mammalian host, including intracellular vacuoles, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Because the CSF is isolated by the blood-brain barrier, we hypothesize that CSF presents unique stresses that C. neoformans must overcome to establish an infection. We assayed 1,201 mutants for survival defects in growth media, saline, and human CSF. We assessed CSF-specific mutants for (i) mutant survival in both human bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and fetal bovine serum (FBS), (ii) survival in macrophages, and (iii) virulence using both Caenorhabditis elegans and rabbit models of cryptococcosis. Thirteen mutants exhibited significant survival defects unique to CSF. The mutations of three of these mutants were recreated in the clinical serotype A strain H99: deletions of the genes for a cation ATPase transporter (ena1?), a putative NEDD8 ubiquitin-like protein (rub1?), and a phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase (pik1?). Mutant survival rates in yeast media, saline, and BAL fluid were similar to those of the wild type; however, survival in FBS was reduced but not to the levels in CSF. These mutant strains also exhibited decreased intracellular survival in macrophages, various degrees of virulence in nematodes, and severe attenuation of survival in a rabbit meningitis model. We analyzed the CSF by mass spectrometry for candidate compounds responsible for the survival defect. Our findings indicate that the genes required for C. neoformans survival in CSF ex vivo are necessary for survival and infection in this unique host environment.
Project description:Potassium and Na(+) effluxes across the plasma membrane are crucial processes for the ionic homeostasis of cells. In fungal cells, these effluxes are mediated by cation/H(+) antiporters and ENA ATPases. We have cloned and studied the functions of the two ENA ATPases of Ustilago maydis, U. maydis Ena1 (UmEna1) and UmEna2. UmEna1 is a typical K(+) or Na(+) efflux ATPase whose function is indispensable for growth at pH 9.0 and for even modest Na(+) or K(+) tolerances above pH 8.0. UmEna1 locates to the plasma membrane and has the characteristics of the low-Na(+)/K(+)-discrimination ENA ATPases. However, it still protects U. maydis cells in high-Na(+) media because Na(+) showed a low cytoplasmic toxicity. The UmEna2 ATPase is phylogenetically distant from UmEna1 and is located mainly at the endoplasmic reticulum. The function of UmEna2 is not clear, but we found that it shares several similarities with Neurospora crassa ENA2, which suggests that endomembrane ENA ATPases may exist in many fungi. The expression of ena1 and ena2 transcripts in U. maydis was enhanced at high pH and at high K(+) and Na(+) concentrations. We discuss that there are two modes of Na(+) tolerance in fungi: the high-Na(+)-content mode, involving ENA ATPases with low Na(+)/K(+) discrimination, as described here for U. maydis, and the low-Na(+)-content mode, involving Na(+)-specific ENA ATPases, as in Neurospora crassa.
Project description:The cation/proton antiporter (CPA) family includes the well-known sodium/proton exchanger (NHE; SLC9A) family of Na(+)/H(+) exchangers, and the more recently discovered and less well understood CPA2s (SLC9B), found widely in living organisms. In Drosophila, as in humans, they are represented by two genes, Nha1 (Slc9b1) and Nha2 (Slc9b2), which are enriched and functionally significant in renal tubules. The importance of their role in organismal survival has not been investigated in animals, however. Here we show that single RNAi knockdowns of either Nha1 or Nha2 reduce survival and in combination are lethal. Knockdown of either gene alone results in up-regulation of the other, suggesting functional complementation of the two genes. Under salt stress, knockdown of either gene decreases survival, demonstrating a key role for the CPA2 family in ion homeostasis. This is specific to Na(+) stress; survival on K(+) intoxication is not affected by sodium/hydrogen antiporter (NHA) knockdown. A direct functional assay in Xenopus oocytes shows that Nha2 acts as a Na(+)/H(+) exchanger. In contrast, Nha1 expressed in Xenopus oocytes shows strong Cl(-) conductance and acts as a H(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter. The activity of Nha1 is inhibited by chloride-binding competitors 4,4'-diiso-thiocyano-2,2'-disulfonic acid stilbene and 4,4'-dibenzamido-2,2'-stilbenedisulphonate. Salt stress induces a massive up-regulation of NHA gene expression not in the major osmoregulatory tissues of the alimentary canal, but in the crop, cuticle, and associated tissues. Thus, it is necessary to revise the classical view of the coordination of different tissues in the coordination of the response to osmoregulatory stress.
Project description:Synechococcus elongatus strain PCC 7942 is an alkaliphilic cyanobacterium that tolerates a relatively high salt concentration as a freshwater microorganism. Its genome sequence revealed seven genes, nha1 to nha7 (syn_pcc79420811, syn_pcc79421264, syn_pcc7942359, syn_pcc79420546, syn_pcc79420307, syn_pcc79422394, and syn_pcc79422186), and the deduced amino acid sequences encoded by these genes are similar to those of Na(+)/H(+) antiporters. The present work focused on molecular and functional characterization of these nha genes encoding Na(+)/H(+) antiporters. Our results show that of the nha genes expressed in Escherichia coli, only nha3 complemented the deficient Na(+)/H(+) antiporter activity of the Na(+)-sensitive TO114 recipient strain. Moreover, two of the cyanobacterial strains with separate disruptions in the nha genes (Deltanha1, Deltanha2, Deltanha3, Deltanha4, Deltanha5, and Deltanha7) had a phenotype different from that of the wild type. In particular, DeltanhA3 cells showed a high-salt- and alkaline-pH-sensitive phenotype, while Deltanha2 cells showed low salt and alkaline pH sensitivity. Finally, the transcriptional profile of the nha1 to nha7 genes, monitored using the real-time PCR technique, revealed that the nha6 gene is upregulated and the nha1 gene is downregulated under certain environmental conditions.