A second component of the SltA-dependent cation tolerance pathway in Aspergillus nidulans.
ABSTRACT: The transcriptional response to alkali metal cation stress is mediated by the zinc finger transcription factor SltA in Aspergillus nidulans and probably in other fungi of the pezizomycotina subphylum. A second component of this pathway has been identified and characterized. SltB is a 1272 amino acid protein with at least two putative functional domains, a pseudo-kinase and a serine-endoprotease, involved in signaling to the transcription factor SltA. Absence of SltB activity results in nearly identical phenotypes to those observed for a null sltA mutant. Hypersensitivity to a variety of monovalent and divalent cations, and to medium alkalinization are among the phenotypes exhibited by a null sltB mutant. Calcium homeostasis is an exception and this cation improves growth of slt? mutants. Moreover, loss of kinase HalA in conjunction with loss-of-function sltA or sltB mutations leads to pronounced calcium auxotrophy. sltA sltB double null mutants display a cation stress sensitive phenotype indistinguishable from that of single slt mutants showing the close functional relationship between these two proteins. This functional relationship is reinforced by the fact that numerous mutations in both slt loci can be isolated as suppressors of poor colonial growth resulting from certain null vps (vacuolar protein sorting) mutations. In addition to allowing identification of sltB, our sltB missense mutations enabled prediction of functional regions in the SltB protein. Although the relationship between the Slt and Vps pathways remains enigmatic, absence of SltB, like that of SltA, leads to vacuolar hypertrophy. Importantly, the phenotypes of selected sltA and sltB mutations demonstrate that suppression of null vps mutations is not dependent on the inability to tolerate cation stress. Thus a specific role for both SltA and SltB in the VPS pathway seems likely. Finally, it is noteworthy that SltA and SltB have a similar, limited phylogenetic distribution, being restricted to the pezizomycotina subphylum. The relevance of the Slt regulatory pathway to cell structure, intracellular trafficking and cation homeostasis and its restricted phylogenetic distribution makes this pathway of general interest for future investigation and as a source of targets for antifungal drugs.
Project description:Tolerance of Aspergillus nidulans to alkalinity and elevated cation concentrations requires both SltA and SltB. Transcription factor SltA and the putative pseudokinase/protease signaling protein SltB comprise a regulatory pathway specific to filamentous fungi. In vivo, SltB is proteolytically cleaved into its two principal domains. Mutational analysis defines a chymotrypsin-like serine protease domain that mediates SltB autoproteolysis and proteolytic cleavage of SltA. The pseudokinase domain might modulate the protease activity of SltB. Three forms of the SltA transcription factor coexist in cells: a full-length, 78-kDa version and a processed, 32-kDa form, which is found in phosphorylated and unphosphorylated states. The SltA32kDa version mediates transcriptional regulation of sltB and, putatively, genes required for tolerance to cation stress and alkalinity. The full-length form, SltA78kDa, apparently has no transcriptional function. In the absence of SltB, only the primary product of SltA is detectable, and its level equals that of SltA78kDa. Mutations in sltB selected as suppressors of null vps alleles and resulting in cation/alkalinity sensitivity either reduced or eliminated SltA proteolysis. There is no evidence for cation or alkalinity regulation of SltB cleavage, but activation of sltB expression requires SltA. This work identifies the molecular mechanisms governing the Slt pathway.
Project description:In Aspergillus nidulans a combination of null mutations in halA, encoding a protein kinase, and sltA, encoding a zinc-finger transcription factor having no yeast homologues, results in an elevated calcium requirement ('calcium auxotrophy') without impairing net calcium uptake. sltA(-) (+/-halA(-)) mutations result in hypertrophy of the vacuolar system. In halA(-)sltA(-) (and sltA(-)) strains, transcript levels for pmcA and pmcB, encoding vacuolar Ca(2+)-ATPase homologues, are highly elevated, suggesting a regulatory relationship between vacuolar membrane area and certain vacuolar membrane ATPase levels. Deletion of both pmcA and pmcB strongly suppresses the 'calcium auxotrophy'. Therefore the 'calcium auxotrophy' possibly results from excessive vacuolar calcium sequestration, causing cytosolic calcium deprivation. Null mutations in nhaA, homologous to Saccharomyces cerevisiae NHA1, encoding a plasma membrane Na(+)/H(+) antiporter effluxing Na(+) and K(+), and a non-null mutation in trkB, homologous to S. cerevisiae TRK1, encoding a plasma membrane high affinity K(+) transporter, also suppress the calcium auxotrophy.
Project description:Gene fusions, yielding the formation of multidomain proteins, are evolutionary events that can be utilized as phylogenetic markers. Here we describe a fusion gene comprising the ? and ? subunits of succinyl-coA synthetase, an enzyme of the TCA cycle, in Pezizomycotina fungi. This fusion is present in all Pezizomycotina with complete genome sequences and absent from all other organisms. Phylogenetic analysis of the ? and ? subunits of succinyl-CoA synthetase suggests that both subunits were duplicated and retained in Pezizomycotina while one copy was lost from other fungi. One of the duplicated copies was then fused in Pezizomycotina. Our results suggest that the fusion of the ? and ? subunits of succinyl-CoA synthetase can be used as a molecular marker for membership in the Pezizomycotina subphylum. If a species has the fusion it can be reliably classified as Pezizomycotina, while the absence of the fusion is suggestive that the species is not a member of this subphylum.
Project description:Microbial cells interact with the environment by adapting to external changes. Signal transduction pathways participate in both sensing and responding in the form of modification of gene expression patterns, enabling cell survival. The filamentous fungal-specific SltA pathway regulates tolerance to alkalinity, elevated cation concentrations and, as shown in this work, also stress conditions induced by borates. Growth of sltA- mutants is inhibited by increasing millimolar concentrations of boric acid or borax (sodium tetraborate). In an attempt to identify genes required for boron-stress response, we determined the boric acid or borax-dependent expression of sbtA and sbtB, orthologs of Saccharomyces cerevisiae bor1, and a reduction in their transcript levels in a ?sltA mutant. Deletion of sbtA, but mainly that of sbtB, decreased the tolerance to boric acid or borax. In contrast, null mutants of genes coding for additional transporters of the Solute Carrier (SLC) family, sB, sbtD or sbtE, showed an unaltered growth pattern under the same stress conditions. Taken together, our results suggest that the SltA pathway induces, through SbtA and SbtB, the export of toxic concentrations of borates, which have largely recognized antimicrobial properties.
Project description:Fungi have developed the ability to overcome extreme growth conditions and thrive in hostile environments. The model fungus Aspergillus nidulans tolerates, for example, ambient alkalinity up to pH 10 or molar concentrations of multiple cations. The ability to grow under alkaline pH or saline stress depends on the effective function of at least three regulatory pathways mediated by the zinc-finger transcription factor PacC, which mediates the ambient pH regulatory pathway, the calcineurin-dependent CrzA and the cation homeostasis responsive factor SltA. Using RNA sequencing, we determined the effect of external pH alkalinization or sodium stress on gene expression. The data show that each condition triggers transcriptional responses with a low degree of overlap. By sequencing the transcriptomes of the null mutant, the role of SltA in the above-mentioned homeostasis mechanisms was also studied. The results show that the transcriptional role of SltA is wider than initially expected and implies, for example, the positive control of the PacC-dependent ambient pH regulatory pathway. Overall, our data strongly suggest that the stress response pathways in fungi include some common but mostly exclusive constituents, and that there is a hierarchical relationship among the main regulators of stress response, with SltA controlling pacC expression, at least in A. nidulans.
Project description:There is increasing evidence that certain Vacuolar protein sorting (Vps) proteins, factors that mediate vesicular protein trafficking, have additional roles in regulating transcription factors at the endosome. We found that yeast mutants lacking the phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate [PI(3)P] kinase Vps34 or its associated protein kinase Vps15 display multiple phenotypes indicating impaired transcription elongation. These phenotypes include reduced mRNA production from long or G+C-rich coding sequences (CDS) without affecting the associated GAL1 promoter activity, and a reduced rate of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) progression through lacZ CDS in vivo. Consistent with reported genetic interactions with mutations affecting the histone acetyltransferase complex NuA4, vps15? and vps34? mutations reduce NuA4 occupancy in certain transcribed CDS. vps15? and vps34? mutants also exhibit impaired localization of the induced GAL1 gene to the nuclear periphery. We found unexpectedly that, similar to known transcription elongation factors, these and several other Vps factors can be cross-linked to the CDS of genes induced by Gcn4 or Gal4 in a manner dependent on transcriptional induction and stimulated by Cdk7/Kin28-dependent phosphorylation of the Pol II C-terminal domain (CTD). We also observed colocalization of a fraction of Vps15-GFP and Vps34-GFP with nuclear pores at nucleus-vacuole (NV) junctions in live cells. These findings suggest that Vps factors enhance the efficiency of transcription elongation in a manner involving their physical proximity to nuclear pores and transcribed chromatin.
Project description:Growth of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides in the presence of cation salts NaCl and KCl inhibited fungal growth and anthracnose symptom of colonization. Previous reports indicate that adaptation of Aspergillus nidulans to salt- and osmotic-stress conditions revealed the role of zinc-finger transcription factors SltA and CrzA in cation homeostasis. Homologs of A. nidulans SltA and CrzA were identified in C. gloeosporioides. The C. gloeosporioides CrzA homolog is a 682-amino acid protein, which contains a C2H2 zinc finger DNA-binding domain that is highly conserved among CrzA proteins from yeast and filamentous fungi. The C. gloeosporioides SltA homolog encodes a 775-amino acid protein with strong similarity to A. nidulans SltA and Trichoderma reesei ACE1, and highest conservation in the three zinc-finger regions with almost no changes compared to ACE1 sequences. Knockout of C. gloeosporioides crzA (?crzA) resulted in a phenotype with inhibited growth, sporulation, germination and appressorium formation, indicating the importance of this calciu006D-activated transcription factor in regulating these morphogenetic processes. In contrast, knockout of C. gloeosporioides sltA (?sltA) mainly inhibited appressorium formation. Both mutants had reduced pathogenicity on mango and avocado fruit. Inhibition of the different morphogenetic stages in the ?crzA mutant was accompanied by drastic inhibition of chitin synthase A and B and glucan synthase, which was partially restored with Ca2+ supplementation. Inhibition of appressorium formation in ?sltA mutants was accompanied by downregulation of the MAP kinase pmk1 and carnitine acetyl transferase (cat1), genes involved in appressorium formation and colonization, which was restored by Ca2+ supplementation. Furthermore, exposure of C. gloeosporioides ?crzA or ?sltA mutants to cations such as Na+, K+ and Li+ at concentrations that the wild type C. gloeosporioides is not affected had further adverse morphogenetic effects on C. gloeosporioides which were partially or fully restored by Ca2+. Overall results suggest that both genes modulating alkali cation homeostasis have significant morphogenetic effects that reduce C. gloeosporioides colonization.
Project description:In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, vacuolar proteins such as carboxypeptidase Y transit from the Golgi to the lysosome-like vacuole via an endosome-like intermediate compartment. The vacuolar protein sorting (vps) mutant vps28, a member of the "class E" vps mutants, accumulates vacuolar, endocytic, and late Golgi markers in an aberrant endosome-like class E compartment. Sequence analysis of VPS28 revealed an open reading frame predicted to encode a hydrophilic protein of 242 amino acids. Consistent with this, polyclonal antiserum raised against Vps28p recognized a cytoplasmic protein of 28 kDa. Disruption of VPS28 resulted in moderate defects in both biosynthetic traffic and endocytic traffic destined for the vacuole. The transport of soluble vacuolar hydrolases to the vacuole was impaired in vps28 null mutant cells (approximately 40-50% carboxypeptidase Y missorted). Internalization of the endocytic marker FM 4-64, a vital lipophilic dye, resulted in intense staining of a small intracellular compartment adjacent to an enlarged vacuole in delta vps28 cells. Furthermore, the vacuolar H+-ATPase accumulated in the perivacuolar class E compartment in delta vps28 cells, as did a-factor receptor Ste3p that was internalized from the plasma membrane. Electron microscopic analysis revealed the presence of a novel compartment consisting of stacks of curved membrane cisternae. Immunolocalization studies demonstrated that the vacuolar H+-ATPase is associated with this cupped cisternal structure, indicating that it corresponds to the class E compartment observed by fluorescence microscopy. Our data indicate that kinetic defects in both anterograde and retrograde transport out of the prevacuolar compartment in vps28 mutants result in the accumulation of protein and membrane in an exaggerated multilamellar endosomal compartment. We propose that Vps28p, as well as other class E Vps proteins, may facilitate (possibly as coat proteins) the formation of transport intermediates required for efficient transport out of the prevacuolar endosome.
Project description:Potassium, a widely accepted macronutrient, is vital for many physiological processes such as regulation of cell volume, maintenance of intracellular pH, synthesis of proteins and activation of enzymes in filamentous fungi. Another cation, calcium, plays an essential role in many signaling processes from lower to higher eukaryotes. Imbalance in the intracellular ionic levels of potassium or calcium causes adverse effects on cell growth, morphology and development, and eventually death. Previous studies on the adaptation of Aspergillus nidulans to salt and osmotic stress conditions have revealed the role of SltA, a C?H? zinc finger transcription factor in cation homeostasis. SltA is highly conserved in the Ascomycota phylum with no identifiable homolog in S. cerevisiae and other yeast-like fungi, and prevents toxicity by the cations Na?, K?, Li?, Cs? and Mg²?, but not by Ca²?. However its role in morphology and biosynthesis of natural products such as mycotoxins remained unknown. This study shows the first characterization of the role of calcium and SltA fungal homologs in morphogenesis using the model system A. nidulans. Addition of potassium to sltA deletion mutants resulted in decreased levels of sterigmatocystin production. A similar phenotype was observed for both types of mutants in veA1 and veA? genetic background. Expression of the sterigmatocystin genes aflR and stcU was strongly reduced in sltA deletion mutant when K? was added. Additionally, increased concentrations of K? drastically reduced sexual and asexual development, as well as radial growth in deletion sltA colonies. This reduction was accompanied by lower expression of the morphology related genes nsdD, steA and brlA. Interestingly, addition of calcium was able to stimulate asexual and sexual development and remediate the deletion sltA phenotype, including defects in morphology and toxin production.
Project description:In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mutations in vacuolar protein sorting (VPS) genes result in secretion of proteins normally localized to the vacuole. Characterization of the VPS pathway has provided considerable insight into mechanisms of protein sorting and vesicle-mediated intracellular transport. We have cloned VPS9 by complementation of the vacuolar protein sorting defect of vps9 cells, characterized its gene product, and investigated its role in vacuolar protein sorting. Cells with a vps9 disruption exhibit severe vacuolar protein sorting defects and a temperature-sensitive growth defect at 38 degrees C. Electron microscopic examination of delta vps9 cells revealed the appearance of novel reticular membrane structures as well as an accumulation of 40- to 50-nm-diameter vesicles, suggesting that Vps9p may be required for the consumption of transport vesicles containing vacuolar protein precursors. A temperature-conditional allele of vps9 was constructed and used to investigate the function of Vps9p. Immediately upon shifting of temperature-conditional vps9 cells to the nonpermissive temperature, newly synthesized carboxypeptidase Y was secreted, indicating that Vps9p function is directly required in the VPS pathway. Antibodies raised against Vps9p immunoprecipitate a rare 52-kDa protein that fractionates with cytosolic proteins following cell lysis and centrifugation. Analysis of the VPS9 DNA sequence predicts that Vps9p is related to human proteins that bind Ras and negatively regulate Ras-mediated signaling. We term the related regions of Vps9p and these Ras-binding proteins a GTPase binding homology domain and suggest that it defines a family of proteins that bind monomeric GTPases. Vps9p may bind and serve as an effector of a rab GTPase, like Vps2lp, required for vacuolar protein sorting.