Genetically shaping morphology of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus glaucus for production of antitumor polyketide aspergiolide A.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: For filamentous fungi, the basic growth unit of hyphae usually makes it sensitive to shear stress which is generated from mechanical force and dynamic fluid in bioreactor, and it severely decreases microbial productions. The conventional strategies against shear-sensitive conundrum in fungal fermentation usually focus on adapting agitation, impeller type and bioreactor configuration, which brings high cost and tough work in industry. This study aims to genetically shape shear resistant morphology of shear-sensitive filamentous fungus Aspergillus glaucus to make it adapt to bioreactor so as to establish an efficient fermentation process. RESULTS: Hyphal morphology shaping by modifying polarized growth genes of A. glaucus was applied to reduce its shear-sensitivity and enhance aspergiolide A production. Degenerate PCR and genome walking were used to obtain polarized growth genes AgkipA and AgteaR, followed by construction of gene-deficient mutants by homologous integration of double crossover. Deletion of both genes caused meandering hyphae, for which, ΔAgkipA led to small but intense curves comparing with ΔAgteaR by morphology analysis. The germination of a second germ tube from conidiospore of the mutants became random while colony growth and development almost maintained the same. Morphology of ΔAgkipA and ΔAgteaR mutants turned to be compact pellet and loose clump in liquid culture, respectively. The curved hyphae of both mutants showed no remarkably resistant to glass bead grinding comparing with the wild type strain. However, they generated greatly different broth rheology which further caused growth and metabolism variations in bioreactor fermentations. By forming pellets, the ΔAgkipA mutant created a tank environment with low-viscosity, low shear stress and high dissolved oxygen tension, leading to high production of aspergiolide A (121.7 ± 2.3 mg/L), which was 82.2% higher than the wild type. CONCLUSIONS: A new strategy for shaping fungal morphology by modifying polarized growth genes was applied in submerged fermentation in bioreactor. This work provides useful information of shaping fungal morphology for submerged fermentation by genetically modification, which could be valuable for morphology improvement of industrial filamentous fungi.
Project description:The fungus Metarhizium anisopliae is a facultative insect pathogen used as biological control agent of several agricultural pests worldwide. It is a dimorphic fungus that is able to display two growth morphologies, a filamentous phase with formation of hyphae and a yeast-like phase with formation of single-celled blastospores. Blastospores play an important role for M. anisopliae pathogenicity during disease development. They are formed solely in the hemolymph of infected insects as a fungal strategy to quickly multiply and colonize the insect's body. Here, we use comparative genome-wide transcriptome analyses to determine changes in gene expression between the filamentous and blastospore growth phases in vitro to characterize physiological changes and metabolic signatures associated with M. anisopliae dimorphism. Our results show a clear molecular distinction between the blastospore and mycelial phases. In total 6.4% (n = 696) out of 10,981 predicted genes in M. anisopliae were differentially expressed between the two phases with a fold-change > 4. The main physiological processes associated with up-regulated gene content in the single-celled yeast-like blastospores during liquid fermentation were oxidative stress, amino acid metabolism (catabolism and anabolism), respiration processes, transmembrane transport and production of secondary metabolites. In contrast, the up-regulated gene content in hyphae were associated with increased growth, metabolism and cell wall re-organization, which underlines the specific functions and altered growth morphology of M. anisopliae blastospores and hyphae, respectively. Our study revealed significant transcriptomic differences between the metabolism of blastospores and hyphae. These findings illustrate important aspects of fungal morphogenesis in M. anisopliae and highlight the main metabolic activities of each propagule under in vitro growth conditions.
Project description:The opportunistic human pathogenic fungus Penicillium marneffei is dimorphic and is thereby capable of growth either as filamentous multinucleate hyphae or as uninucleate yeast cells which divide by fission. The dimorphic switch is temperature dependent and requires regulated changes in morphology and cell shape. Cdc42p is a Rho family GTPase which in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is required for changes in polarized growth during mating and pseudohyphal development. Cdc42p homologs in higher organisms are also associated with changes in cell shape and polarity. We have cloned a highly conserved CDC42 homolog from P. marneffei named cflA. By the generation of dominant-negative and dominant-activated cflA transformants, we have shown that CflA initiates polarized growth and extension of the germ tube and subsequently maintains polarized growth in the vegetative mycelium. CflA is also required for polarization and determination of correct cell shape during yeast-like growth, and active CflA is required for the separation of yeast cells. However, correct cflA function is not required for dimorphic switching and does not appear to play a role during the generation of specialized structures during asexual development. In contrast, heterologous expression of cflA alleles in Aspergillus nidulans prevented conidiation.
Project description:Recent developments in molecular biology and metabolic engineering have resulted in a large increase in the number of strains that need to be tested, positioning high-throughput screening of microorganisms as an important step in bioprocess development. Scalability is crucial for performing reliable screening of microorganisms. Most of the scalability studies from microplate screening systems to controlled stirred-tank bioreactors have been performed so far with unicellular microorganisms. We have compared cultivation of industrially relevant oleaginous filamentous fungi and microalga in a Duetz-microtiter plate system to benchtop and pre-pilot bioreactors. Maximal glucose consumption rate, biomass concentration, lipid content of the biomass, biomass, and lipid yield values showed good scalability for Mucor circinelloides (less than 20% differences) and Mortierella alpina (less than 30% differences) filamentous fungi. Maximal glucose consumption and biomass production rates were identical for Crypthecodinium cohnii in microtiter plate and benchtop bioreactor. Most likely due to shear stress sensitivity of this microalga in stirred bioreactor, biomass concentration and lipid content of biomass were significantly higher in the microtiter plate system than in the benchtop bioreactor. Still, fermentation results obtained in the Duetz-microtiter plate system for Crypthecodinium cohnii are encouraging compared to what has been reported in literature. Good reproducibility (coefficient of variation less than 15% for biomass growth, glucose consumption, lipid content, and pH) were achieved in the Duetz-microtiter plate system for Mucor circinelloides and Crypthecodinium cohnii. Mortierella alpina cultivation reproducibility might be improved with inoculation optimization. In conclusion, we have presented suitability of the Duetz-microtiter plate system for the reproducible, scalable, and cost-efficient high-throughput screening of oleaginous microorganisms.
Project description:In budding yeast, new sites of polarity are chosen with each cell cycle and polarization is transient. In filamentous fungi, sites of polarity persist for extended periods of growth and new polarity sites can be established while existing sites are maintained. How the polarity establishment machinery functions in these distinct growth forms found in fungi is still not well understood. We have examined the function of Axl2, a transmembrane bud site selection protein discovered in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in the filamentous fungus Ashbya gossypii. A. gossypii does not divide by budding and instead exhibits persistent highly polarized growth, and multiple axes of polarity coexist in one cell. A. gossypii axl2? (Agaxl2?) cells have wavy hyphae, bulbous tips, and a high frequency of branch initiations that fail to elongate, indicative of a polarity maintenance defect. Mutant colonies also have significantly lower radial growth and hyphal tip elongation speeds than wild-type colonies, and Agaxl2? hyphae have depolarized actin patches. Consistent with a function in polarity, AgAxl2 localizes to hyphal tips, branches, and septin rings. Unlike S. cerevisiae Axl2, AgAxl2 contains a Mid2 homology domain and may function to sense or respond to environmental stress. In support of this idea, hyphae lacking AgAxl2 also display hypersensitivity to heat, osmotic, and cell wall stresses. Axl2 serves to integrate polarity establishment, polarity maintenance, and environmental stress response for optimal polarized growth in A. gossypii.
Project description:Polarized growth in filamentous fungi depends on the correct spatial organization of the microtubule (MT) and actin cytoskeleton. In Schizosaccharomyces pombe it was shown that the MT cytoskeleton is required for the delivery of so-called cell end marker proteins, e.g., Tea1 and Tea4, to the cell poles. Subsequently, these markers recruit several proteins required for polarized growth, e.g., a formin, which catalyzes actin cable formation. The latest results suggest that this machinery is conserved from fission yeast to Aspergillus nidulans. Here, we have characterized TeaC, a putative homologue of Tea4. Sequence identity between TeaC and Tea4 is only 12.5%, but they both share an SH3 domain in the N-terminal region. Deletion of teaC affected polarized growth and hyphal directionality. Whereas wild-type hyphae grow straight, hyphae of the mutant grow in a zig-zag way, similar to the hyphae of teaA deletion (tea1) strains. Some small, anucleate compartments were observed. Overexpression of teaC repressed septation and caused abnormal swelling of germinating conidia. In agreement with the two roles in polarized growth and in septation, TeaC localized to hyphal tips and to septa. TeaC interacted with the cell end marker protein TeaA at hyphal tips and with the formin SepA at hyphal tips and at septa.
Project description:An important parameter in filamentous bioreactor cultivations is the morphology of the fungi, due to its interlink to productivity and its dependency on process conditions. Filamentous fungi show a large variety of morphological forms in submerged cultures. These range from dispersed hyphae, to interwoven mycelial aggregates, to denser hyphal aggregates, the so-called pellets. Depending on the objective function of the bioprocess, different characteristics of the morphology are favorable and need to be quantified accurately. The most common method to quantitatively characterize morphology is image analysis based on microscopy. This method is work intensive and time consuming. Therefore, we developed a faster, at-line applicable, alternative method based on flow cytometry. Within this contribution, this novel method is compared to microscopy for a penicillin production process. Both methods yielded in comparable distinction of morphological sub-populations and described their morphology in more detail. In addition to the appropriate quantification of size parameters and the description of the hyphal region around pellets, the flow cytometry method even revealed a novel compactness parameter for fungal pellets which is not accessible via light microscopy. Hence, the here presented flow cytometry method for morphological analysis is a fast and reliable alternative to common tools with some new insights in the pellet morphology, enabling at-line use in production environments.
Project description:In the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans, both microtubules and actin filaments are important for polarized growth at the hyphal tip. Less clear is how different microtubule-based and actin-based motors work together to support this growth. Here we examined the role of myosin-V (MYOV) in hyphal growth. MYOV-depleted cells form elongated hyphae, but the rate of hyphal elongation is significantly reduced. In addition, although wild type cells without microtubules still undergo polarized growth, microtubule disassembly abolishes polarized growth in MYOV-depleted cells. Thus, MYOV is essential for polarized growth in the absence of microtubules. Moreover, while a triple kinesin null mutant lacking kinesin-1 (KINA) and two kinesin-3s (UNCA and UNCB) undergoes hyphal elongation and forms a colony, depleting MYOV in this triple mutant results in lethality due to a severe defect in polarized growth. These results argue that MYOV, through its ability to transport secretory cargo, can support a significant amount of polarized hyphal tip growth in the absence of any microtubule-based transport. Finally, our genetic analyses also indicate that KINA (kinesin-1) rather than UNCA (kinesin-3) is the major kinesin motor that supports polarized growth in the absence of MYOV.
Project description:Highly polarized growth of filamentous fungi requires a continuous supply of proteins and lipids to the hyphal tip. This transport is managed by vesicle trafficking via the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons and their associated motor proteins. Particularly, actin cables originating from the hyphal tip are essential for hyphal growth. Although, specific marker proteins have been developed to visualize actin cables in filamentous fungi, the exact organization and dynamics of actin cables has remained elusive. Here, we observed actin cables using tropomyosin (TpmA) and Lifeact fused to fluorescent proteins in living Aspergillus nidulans hyphae and studied the dynamics and regulation. GFP tagged TpmA visualized dynamic actin cables formed from the hyphal tip with cycles of elongation and shrinkage. The elongation and shrinkage rates of actin cables were similar and approximately 0.6 ?m/s. Comparison of actin markers revealed that high concentrations of Lifeact reduced actin dynamics. Simultaneous visualization of actin cables and microtubules suggests temporally and spatially coordinated polymerization and depolymerization between the two cytoskeletons. Our results provide new insights into the molecular mechanism of ordered polarized growth regulated by actin cables and microtubules.
Project description:The objective of the work was to study the effect of agri-residue solid contents (2-20% w v-1) in fermentation medium on fungal growth, soluble and insoluble nutrient consumption and laccase production. Fungal strain Ganoderma lucidium and wheat straw substrate was screened for maximum laccase production. At low solid content submerged fermentation (SmF), fungus utilized mainly soluble nutrient and was unable to access the insoluble nutrient in media due to lack of contact with solid. At high solid content solid-state fermentation (SF), fungi grew on solid surface with dense and thin hyphae, utilized mainly insoluble nutrient. At medium solid content (8% w v-1) semi-solid fermentation (sSF), fungi grew on solid substrates with network of thick intercrossed hyphae, utilized both soluble and insoluble nutrients optimally resulting in highest fungal growth and laccase activity (~ 3.5 folds than in SmF and ~ 2.5 folds than in SF). Importance of soluble and insoluble nutrients was also established after isolation of their individual effects. Morphology of fungal growth (SEM), composition, thermal analysis (TGA/DTG) of substrates confirmed the results. sSF showed potential for the production of enzymes through utilization of agricultural residues as substrate.
Project description:Fungal hyphae and plant pollen tubes are among the most highly polarized cells known and pose extraordinary requirements on their cell polarity machinery. Cellular morphogenesis is driven through the phospholipid-dependent organization at the apical plasma membrane. We characterized the contribution of phosphoinositides (PIs) in hyphal growth of the filamentous ascomycete Neurospora crassa. MSS-4 is an essential gene and its deletion resulted in spherically growing cells that ultimately lyse. Two conditional mss-4-mutants exhibited altered hyphal morphology and aberrant branching at restrictive conditions that were complemented by expression of wild type MSS-4. Recombinant MSS-4 was characterized as a phosphatidylinositolmonophosphate-kinase phosphorylating phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PtdIns4P) to phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PtdIns(4,5)P(2)). PtdIns3P was also used as a substrate. Sequencing of two conditional mss-4 alleles identified a single substitution of a highly conserved Y750 to N. The biochemical characterization of recombinant protein variants revealed Y750 as critical for PI4P 5-kinase activity of MSS-4 and of plant PI4P 5-kinases. The conditional growth defects of mss-4 mutants were caused by severely reduced activity of MSS-4(Y750N), enabling the formation of only trace amounts of PtdIns(4,5)P(2). In N. crassa hyphae, PtdIns(4,5)P(2) localized predominantly in the plasma membrane of hyphae and along septa. Fluorescence-tagged MSS-4 formed a subapical collar at hyphal tips, localized to constricting septa and accumulated at contact points of fusing N. crassa germlings, indicating MSS-4 is responsible for the formation of relevant pools of PtdIns(4,5)P(2) that control polar and directional growth and septation. N. crassa MSS-4 differs from yeast, plant and mammalian PI4P 5-kinases by containing additional protein domains. The N-terminal domain of N. crassa MSS-4 was required for correct membrane association. The data presented for N. crassa MSS-4 and its roles in hyphal growth are discussed with a comparative perspective on PI-control of polar tip growth in different organismic kingdoms.