The Daisho Peptides Mediate Drosophila Defense Against a Subset of Filamentous Fungi.
ABSTRACT: Fungal infections, widespread throughout the world, affect a broad range of life forms, including agriculturally relevant plants, humans, and insects. In defending against fungal infections, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster employs the Toll pathway to induce a large number of immune peptides. Some have been investigated, such as the antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) and Bomanins (Boms); many, however, remain uncharacterized. Here, we examine the role in innate immunity of two related peptides, Daisho1 and Daisho2 (formerly IM4 and IM14, respectively), found in hemolymph following Toll pathway activation. By generating a CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of both genes, ?daisho, we find that the Daisho peptides are required for defense against a subset of filamentous fungi, including Fusarium oxysporum, but not other Toll-inducible pathogens, such as Enterococcus faecalis and Candida glabrata. Analysis of null alleles and transgenes revealed that the two daisho genes are each required for defense, although their functions partially overlap. Generating and assaying a genomic epitope-tagged Daisho2 construct, we detected interaction in vitro of Daisho2 peptide in hemolymph with the hyphae of F. oxysporum. Together, these results identify the Daisho peptides as a new class of innate immune effectors with humoral activity against a select set of filamentous fungi.
Project description:Toll mediates a robust and effective innate immune response across vertebrates and invertebrates. In Drosophila melanogaster, activation of Toll by systemic infection drives the accumulation of a rich repertoire of immune effectors in hemolymph, including the recently characterized Bomanins, as well as the classical antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Here we report the functional characterization of a Toll-induced hemolymph protein encoded by the bombardier (CG18067) gene. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 system to generate a precise deletion of the bombardier transcriptional unit, we found that Bombardier is required for Toll-mediated defense against fungi and Gram-positive bacteria. Assaying cell-free hemolymph, we found that the Bomanin-dependent candidacidal activity is also dependent on Bombardier, but is independent of the antifungal AMPs Drosomycin and Metchnikowin. Using mass spectrometry, we demonstrated that deletion of bombardier results in the specific absence of short-form Bomanins from hemolymph. In addition, flies lacking Bombardier exhibited a defect in pathogen tolerance that we trace to an aberrant condition triggered by Toll activation. These results lead us to a model in which the presence of Bombardier in wild-type flies enables the proper folding, secretion, or intermolecular associations of short-form Bomanins, and the absence of Bombardier disrupts one or more of these steps, resulting in defects in both immune resistance and tolerance.
Project description:The Bomanins (Boms) are a family of a dozen secreted peptides that mediate the innate immune response governed by the Drosophila Toll receptor. We recently showed that deleting a cluster of 10 Bom genes blocks Toll-mediated defenses against a range of fungi and gram-positive bacteria. Here, we characterize the activity of individual Bom family members. We provide evidence that the Boms overlap in function and that a single Bom gene encoding a mature peptide of just 16 amino acids can act largely or entirely independent of other family members to provide phenotypic rescue in vivo. We further demonstrate that the Boms function in Drosophila humoral immunity, mediating the killing of the fungal pathogen Candida glabrata in an in vitro assay of cell-free hemolymph. In addition, we find that the level of antifungal activity both in vivo and in vitro is linked to the level of Bom gene expression. Although Toll dictates expression of the antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) drosomycin and metchnikowin, we find no evidence that Boms act by modifying the expression of the mature forms of these antifungal AMPs.
Project description:Toll mediates a robust and effective innate immune response across vertebrates and invertebrates. In Drosophila melanogaster, activation of Toll by systemic infection drives the accumulation of a rich repertoire of immune effectors in hemolymph, including the recently characterized Bomanins as well as the classical antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). Here we report the functional characterization of a Toll-induced hemolymph protein encoded by the bombardier (CG18067) gene. Using the CRISPR-Cas9 system to generate a precise deletion, we found that Bombardier is required for Toll-mediated defense against fungi and Gram-positive bacteria. Assaying cell-free hemolymph from these flies, we found that the Bomanin-dependent candidacidal activity observed in hemolymph is also dependent on Bombardier, but not on the antifungal AMPs Drosomycin and Metchnikowin. Using mass spectrometry, we demonstrated that deletion of Bombardier results in the specific absence of short-form Bomanins from hemolymph. Flies lacking Bombardier also exhibited a defect in pathogen tolerance that we trace to an autoimmune disorder triggered by Toll activation. These results lead us to a model in which the presence of Bombardier in wild-type flies enables the proper folding, secretion, or intermolecular associations of short-form Bomanins, and the absence of Bombardier disrupts one or more of these steps, resulting in defects in both immune resistance and tolerance.
Project description:Antimicrobial peptides are a potent group of defense active molecules that have been utilized in developing resistance against a multitude of plant pathogens. Floral defensins constitute a group of cysteine-rich peptides showing potent growth inhibition of pathogenic filamentous fungi especially Fusarium oxysporum in vitro. Full length genes coding for two Petunia floral defensins, PhDef1 and PhDef2 having unique C-terminal 31 and 27 amino acid long predicted prodomains, were overexpressed in transgenic banana plants using embryogenic cells as explants for Agrobacterium-mediated genetic transformation. High level constitutive expression of these defensins in elite banana cv. Rasthali led to significant resistance against infection of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense as shown by in vitro and ex vivo bioassay studies. Transgenic banana lines expressing either of the two defensins were clearly less chlorotic and had significantly less infestation and discoloration in the vital corm region of the plant as compared to untransformed controls. Transgenic banana plants expressing high level of full-length PhDef1 and PhDef2 were phenotypically normal and no stunting was observed. In conclusion, our results suggest that high-level constitutive expression of floral defensins having distinctive prodomains is an efficient strategy for development of fungal resistance in economically important fruit crops like banana.
Project description:Galleria mellonella has emerged as a potential invertebrate model for scrutinizing innate immunity. Larvae are easy to handle in host-pathogen assays. We undertook proteomics research in order to understand immune response in a heterologous host when challenged with microconidia of Fusarium oxysporum. The aim of this study was to investigate hemolymph proteins that were differentially expressed between control and immunized larvae sets, tested with F. oxysporum at two temperatures. The iTRAQ approach allowed us to observe the effects of immune challenges in a lucid and robust manner, identifying more than 50 proteins, 17 of them probably involved in the immune response. Changes in protein expression were statistically significant, especially when temperature was increased because this was notoriously affected by F. oxysporum 104 or 106 microconidia/mL. Some proteins were up-regulated upon immune fungal microconidia challenge when temperature changed from 25 to 37°C. After analysis of identified proteins by bioinformatics and meta-analysis, results revealed that they were involved in transport, immune response, storage, oxide-reduction and catabolism: 20 from G. mellonella, 20 from the Lepidoptera species and 19 spread across bacteria, protista, fungi and animal species. Among these, 13 proteins and 2 peptides were examined for their immune expression, and the hypothetical 3D structures of 2 well-known proteins, unannotated for G. mellonella, i.e., actin and CREBP, were resolved using peptides matched with Bombyx mori and Danaus plexippus, respectively. The main conclusion in this study was that iTRAQ tool constitutes a consistent method to detect proteins associated with the innate immune system of G. mellonella in response to infection caused by F. oxysporum. In addition, iTRAQ was a reliable quantitative proteomic approach to detect and quantify the expression levels of immune system proteins and peptides, in particular, it was found that 104 microconidia/mL at 37°C over expressed many more proteins than other treatments.
Project description:Innate antifungal defense in Drosophila melanogaster relies on the activation of the Toll molecule and the release of drosomycin, a defensin-like molecule with antifungal properties. Ten human homologues of Toll have been described, with central roles in activation of the innate host defense. In the present study, we report a putative human homologue of the Drosophila-derived drosomycin, designated drosomycin-like defensin (DLD). Synthetic DLD displays a broad spectrum of activity against Aspergillus spp. and other clinically relevant filamentous fungi. These effects are specific for filamentous fungi; no activity has been found against yeasts or gram-positive or gram-negative bacteria. Synthetic DLD also displays immunomodulatory effects on Aspergillus-stimulated cytokine production. In addition, we show the expression of DLD mRNA in several human tissues, particularly in the skin, consistent with its putative role as a defensin against invading microorganisms. This is the first indication of an endogenous human peptide with specific antifungal activity, which is probably central in the defense against infections with molds.
Project description:Particular combinations of fungal strains and transformation vectors allow for fungal rearrangement of normally integrative plasmids, resulting in the creation of linear self-replicating plasmids in Fusarium oxysporum. The rearrangement results in the addition of fungal DNA, including telomere consensus sequences, to plasmid termini. The mechanism by which this rearrangement occurs is unclear, but it has similarities to extrachromosomal gene amplification. A DNA fragment which allows for linear autonomous replication upon reintroduction to the fungus was subcloned and sequenced. This DNA sequence contains the repeated telomeric sequence TTAGGG flanked by a region of twofold symmetry consisting primarily of pUC12 DNA. Isolation and identification of this sequence is the first step toward development of vectors that function as artificial chromosomes in filamentous fungi. This sequence was shown to promote autonomous replication and enhance transformation in several strains of F. oxysporum, Nectria haematococca, and Cryphonectria parasitica.
Project description:Cohesin, the sister chromatid cohesion complex, is an essential complex that ensures faithful sister chromatid segregation in eukaryotes. It also participates in DNA repair, transcription and maintenance of chromosome structure. Mitotic cohesin is composed of Smc1, Smc3, Scc3, and Rad21/Mcd1. The meiotic cohesin complex contains Rec8, a Rad21 paralog and not Rad21 itself. Very little is known about sister chromatid cohesion in fungal plant pathogens. Fusarium oxysporum is an important fungal plant pathogen without known sexual life cycle. Here, we describe that F. oxysporum encodes for three Rad21 paralogs; Rad21, Rec8, and the first alternative Rad21 paralog in the phylum of ascomycete. This last paralog is found only in several fungal plant pathogens from the Fusarium family and thus termed rad21nc (non-conserved). Conserved rad21 (rad21c), rad21nc, and rec8 genes are expressed in F. oxysporum although the expression of rad21c is much higher than the other paralogs. F. oxysporum strains deleted for the rad21nc or rec8 genes were analyzed for their role in fungal life cycle. ?rad21nc and ?rec8 single mutants were proficient in sporulation, conidia germination, hyphal growth and pathogenicity under optimal growth conditions. Interestingly, ?rad21nc and ?rec8 single mutants germinate less effectively than wild type (WT) strains under DNA replication and mitosis stresses. We provide here the first genetic analysis of alternative rad21nc and rec8 paralogs in filamentous fungi. Our results suggest that rad21nc and rec8 may have a unique role in cell cycle related functions of F. oxysporum.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Latest research shows that small antimicrobial peptides play a role in the innate defense system of plants. These peptides typically contribute to preformed defense by developing protective barriers around germinating seeds or between different tissue layers within plant organs. The encoding genes could also be upregulated by abiotic and biotic stimuli during active defense processes. The peptides display a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activities. Their potent anti-pathogenic characteristics have ensured that they are promising targets in the medical and agricultural biotechnology sectors. RESULTS: A berry specific cDNA sequence designated Vv-AMP1, Vitis vinifera antimicrobial peptide 1, was isolated from Vitis vinifera. Vv-AMP1 encodes for a 77 amino acid peptide that shows sequence homology to the family of plant defensins. Vv-AMP1 is expressed in a tissue specific, developmentally regulated manner, being only expressed in berry tissue at the onset of berry ripening and onwards. Treatment of leaf and berry tissue with biotic or abiotic factors did not lead to increased expression of Vv-AMP1 under the conditions tested. The predicted signal peptide of Vv-AMP1, fused to the green fluorescent protein (GFP), showed that the signal peptide allowed accumulation of its product in the apoplast. Vv-AMP1 peptide, produced in Escherichia coli, had a molecular mass of 5.495 kDa as determined by mass spectrometry. Recombinant Vv-AMP1 was extremely heat-stable and showed strong antifungal activity against a broad spectrum of plant pathogenic fungi, with very high levels of activity against the wilting disease causing pathogens Fusarium oxysporum and Verticillium dahliae. The Vv-AMP1 peptide did not induce morphological changes on the treated fungal hyphae, but instead strongly inhibited hyphal elongation. A propidium iodide uptake assay suggested that the inhibitory activity of Vv-AMP1 might be associated with altering the membrane permeability of the fungal membranes. CONCLUSION: A berry specific cDNA clone, Vv-AMP1, was isolated and characterized and shown to encode a plant defensin. Recombinant Vv-AMP1 displayed non-morphogenic antifungal activity against a broad spectrum of fungi, probably altering the membrane permeability of the fungal pathogens. The expression of this peptide is highly regulated in Vitis vinifera, hinting at an important defense role during berry-ripening.
Project description:The global increase in fungal disease burden, the emergence of novel pathogenic fungi, and the lack of fungal vaccines have focused intense interest in elucidating immune defense mechanisms against fungi. Recent studies in animal models and in humans identify an integrated role for C-type lectin and Toll-like receptor signaling in activating innate and adaptive responses that control medically relevant fungi. Beyond the critical role of phagocytes in host defense, the generation and balance of specific T helper subsets contributes to sterilizing immunity. These advances form a basis for the development of fungal vaccines and immune-based therapeutic adjuncts.