The Toxins of Beauveria bassiana and the Strategies to Improve Their Virulence to Insects.
ABSTRACT: The long-term and excessive usage of pesticides is an enormous burden on the environment, which also increases pest resistance. To overcome this problem, research and application of entomopathogenic fungi, which are both environmentally friendly and cause lower resistance, have gained great momentum. Entomopathogenic fungi have a wide range of prospects. Apart from Bacillus thuringiensis, Beauveria bassiana is the most studied biopesticide. After invading insect hosts, B. bassiana produces a variety of toxins, which are secondary metabolites such as beauvericin, bassianin, bassianolide, beauverolides, tenellin, oosporein, and oxalic acid. These toxins help B. bassiana to parasitize and kill the hosts. This review unequivocally considers beauveria toxins highly promising and summarizes their attack mechanism(s) on the host insect immune system. Genetic engineering strategies to improve toxin principles, genes, or virulent molecules of B. bassiana have also been discussed. Lastly, we discuss the future perspective of Beauveria toxin research, including newly discovered toxins.
Project description:Quinones are widely distributed in nature and exhibit diverse biological or pharmacological activities; however, their biosynthetic machineries are largely unknown. The bibenzoquinone oosporein was first identified from the ascomycete insect pathogen Beauveria bassiana>50 y ago. The toxin can also be produced by different plant pathogenic and endophytic fungi with an array of biological activities. Here, we report the oosporein biosynthetic machinery in fungi, a polyketide synthase (PKS) pathway including seven genes for quinone biosynthesis. The PKS oosporein synthase 1 (OpS1) produces orsellinic acid that is hydroxylated to benzenetriol by the hydroxylase OpS4. The intermediate is oxidized either nonenzymatically to 5,5'-dideoxy-oosporein or enzymatically to benzenetetrol by the putative dioxygenase OpS7. The latter is further dimerized to oosporein by the catalase OpS5. The transcription factor OpS3 regulates intrapathway gene expression. Insect bioassays revealed that oosporein is required for fungal virulence and acts by evading host immunity to facilitate fungal multiplication in insects. These results contribute to the known mechanisms of quinone biosynthesis and the understanding of small molecules deployed by fungi that interact with their hosts.
Project description:The insect gut microbiota plays crucial roles in modulating the interactions between the host and intestinal pathogens. Unlike viruses, bacteria, and parasites, which need to be ingested to cause disease, entomopathogenic fungi infect insects through the cuticle and proliferate in the hemolymph. However, interactions between the gut microbiota and entomopathogenic fungi are unknown. Here we show that the pathogenic fungus <i>Beauveria bassiana</i> interacts with the gut microbiota to accelerate mosquito death. After topical fungal infection, mosquitoes with gut microbiota die significantly faster than mosquitoes without microbiota. Furthermore, fungal infection causes dysbiosis of mosquito gut microbiota with a significant increase in gut bacterial load and a significant decrease in bacterial diversity. In particular, the opportunistic pathogenic bacterium <i>Serratia marcescens</i> overgrows in the midgut and translocates to the hemocoel, which promotes fungal killing of mosquitoes. We further reveal that fungal infection down-regulates antimicrobial peptide and dual oxidase expression in the midgut. Duox down-regulation in the midgut is mediated by secretion of the toxin oosporein from <i>B. bassiana</i> Our findings reveal the important contribution of the gut microbiota in <i>B. bassiana</i>-killing activity, providing new insights into the mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis in insects.
Project description:The regulatory network and biological functions of the fungal secondary metabolite oosporein have remained obscure. Beauveria bassiana has evolved the ability to parasitize insects and outcompete microbial challengers for assimilation of host nutrients. A novel zinc finger transcription factor, BbSmr1 (B. bassiana secondary metabolite regulator 1), was identified in a screen for oosporein overproduction. Deletion of Bbsmr1 resulted in up-regulation of the oosporein biosynthetic gene cluster (OpS genes) and constitutive oosporein production. Oosporein production was abolished in double mutants of Bbsmr1 and a second transcription factor, OpS3, within the oosporein gene cluster (?Bbsmr1?OpS3), indicating that BbSmr1 acts as a negative regulator of OpS3 expression. Real-time quantitative PCR and a GFP promoter fusion construct of OpS1, the oosporein polyketide synthase, indicated that OpS1 is expressed mainly in insect cadavers at 24-48 h after death. Bacterial colony analysis in B. bassiana-infected insect hosts revealed increasing counts until host death, with a dramatic decrease (?90%) after death that correlated with oosporein production. In vitro studies verified the inhibitory activity of oosporein against bacteria derived from insect cadavers. These results suggest that oosporein acts as an antimicrobial compound to limit microbial competition on B. bassiana-killed hosts, allowing the fungus to maximally use host nutrients to grow and sporulate on infected cadavers.
Project description:Pyrethroids are chemical insecticides that are widely used to control pests. Entomopathogenic fungi are considered environmentally safe alternatives to these compounds. Pyrethroids and entomopathogenic fungi not only co-exist in the environment but can also be applied together in pest control. They are often found in contact with each other, and thus, it seems important to understand their interactions at the cellular level. In this study, we analyzed whether pyrethroids could influence the phospholipid profile of Beauveria bassiana and whether membrane changes are one of the mechanisms by which these fungi adapt to unfavorable environmental conditions. The results of our study revealed that pyrethroids changed the phospholipid profile and increased the cell membrane permeability of B. bassiana, which enabled them to enter and accumulate within the fungal cells, resulting in oxidative stress. Pyrethroids influenced the amount of neutral lipids, caused a decrease in sodium content, and also temporarily lowered the level of the secondary metabolite oosporein in the studied fungi. These findings indicate that the effect of pyrethroids on entomopathogenic fungi may be more complex than originally thought and that lipidomic studies can aid in fully understanding the influence of these chemicals on the mentioned group of fungi.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The entomopathogenic fungi of the genus Beauveria are cosmopolitan with a variety of different insect hosts. The two most important species, B. bassiana and B. brongniartii, have already been used as biological control agents of pests in agriculture and as models for the study of insect host - pathogen interactions. Mitochondrial (mt) genomes, due to their properties to evolve faster than the nuclear DNA, to contain introns and mobile elements and to exhibit extended polymorphisms, are ideal tools to examine genetic diversity within fungal populations and genetically identify a species or a particular isolate. Moreover, mt intergenic region can provide valuable phylogenetic information to study the biogeography of the fungus. RESULTS: The complete mt genomes of B. bassiana (32,263 bp) and B. brongniartii (33,920 bp) were fully analysed. Apart from a typical gene content and organization, the Beauveria mt genomes contained several introns and had longer intergenic regions when compared with their close relatives. The phylogenetic diversity of a population of 84 Beauveria strains -mainly B. bassiana (n = 76) - isolated from temperate, sub-tropical and tropical habitats was examined by analyzing the nucleotide sequences of two mt intergenic regions (atp6-rns and nad3-atp9) and the nuclear ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 domain. Mt sequences allowed better differentiation of strains than the ITS region. Based on mt and the concatenated dataset of all genes, the B. bassiana strains were placed into two main clades: (a) the B. bassiana s. l. and (b) the "pseudobassiana". The combination of molecular phylogeny with criteria of geographic and climatic origin showed for the first time in entomopathogenic fungi, that the B. bassiana s. l. can be subdivided into seven clusters with common climate characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that mt genomes and in particular intergenic regions provide molecular phylogeny tools that combined with criteria of geographic and climatic origin can subdivide the B. bassiana s.l. entomopathogenic fungi into seven clusters with common climate characteristics.
Project description:Entomopathogenic fungi such as Beauveria bassiana are currently considered as a potential control agent for malaria mosquitoes. The success of such strategies depends among others on the efficacy of the fungus to kill its hosts. As B. bassiana can use various resources for growth and reproduction, increasing the dependency on mosquitoes as a nutritional source may be instrumental for reaching this goal. Passage of entomopathogenic fungi through an insect host has been shown to increase its virulence. We evaluated the virulence, fungal outgrowth, mycelial growth rate, and sporulation rate of two B. bassiana isolates (Bb1520 and Bb8028) that underwent 10 consecutive selection cycles through malaria mosquitoes (Anopheles coluzzii) using an experimental evolution approach. This cycling resulted in an altered capacity of evolved B. Bassiana lineages to grow on different substrates while maintaining the ability to kill insects. Notably, however, there were no significant changes in virulence or speed of outgrowth when comparing the evolved lineages against their unevolved ancestors. These results suggest that fungal growth and sporulation evolved through successive and exclusive use of an insect host as a nutritional resource. We discuss the results in light of biocontrol and provide suggestions to increase fungal virulence.
Project description:Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is an outstanding insect fungus for its biology to manipulate host ants' behavior and for its extreme host-specificity. Through the sequencing and annotation of Ophiocordyceps polyrhachis-furcata, a species in the O. unilateralis species complex specific to the ant Polyrhachis furcata, comparative analyses on genes involved in pathogenicity and virulence between this fungus and other fungi were undertaken in order to gain insights into its biology and the emergence of host specificity.O. polyrhachis-furcata possesses various genes implicated in pathogenicity and virulence common with other fungi. Overall, this fungus possesses protein-coding genes similar to those found on other insect fungi with available genomic resources (Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium robertsii (formerly classified as M. anisopliae s.l.), Metarhizium acridum, Cordyceps militaris, Ophiocordyceps sinensis). Comparative analyses in regard of the host ranges of insect fungi showed a tendency toward contractions of various gene families for narrow host-range species, including cuticle-degrading genes (proteases, carbohydrate esterases) and some families of pathogen-host interaction (PHI) genes. For many families of genes, O. polyrhachis-furcata had the least number of genes found; some genes commonly found in other insect fungi are even absent (e.g. Class 1 hydrophobin). However, there are expansions of genes involved in 1) the production of bacterial-like toxins in O. polyrhachis-furcata, compared with other entomopathogenic fungi, and 2) retrotransposable elements.The gain and loss of gene families helps us understand how fungal pathogenicity in insect hosts evolved. The loss of various genes involved throughout the pathogenesis for O. unilateralis would result in a reduced capacity to exploit larger ranges of hosts and therefore in the different level of host specificity, while the expansions of other gene families suggest an adaptation to particular environments with unexpected strategies like oral toxicity, through the production of bacterial-like toxins, or sophisticated mechanisms underlying pathogenicity through retrotransposons.
Project description:A native strain of the entomopathogenic fungus <i>Beauveria bassiana</i> (Bb-C001) was isolated from a naturally infected <i>Triatoma infestans</i>, Klug (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) adult cadaver in the Gran Chaco region, Salta province, Argentina. The isolate was both phenotypic and molecularly characterized in a context of fungus-insect interaction, by measuring the expression pattern of toxin genes during infection and immune response of <i>T. infestans</i>. The commercial strain GHA of <i>B. bassiana</i>, which was previously used in field interventions to control these vectors, was used as reference in this study. The phylogenetic trees based on both ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and elongation factor 1-alpha (EF1-?) indicated that Bb-C001 fits into a <i>B. bassiana</i> cluster, and the sequence-characterized amplified regions (SCAR) showed that Bb-C001 is different from the GHA strain. There were no differences between both strains regarding viability, radial growth, and conidia production, either in the median survival time or insect mortality. However, Bb-C001 showed a higher expression than GHA of the bassianolide synthetase gene (<i>BbbslS</i>) during infection, and similar levels of the beauvericin synthetase gene (<i>BbbeaS</i>). Immune-related genes of <i>T. infestans</i> nymphs (<i>limpet-2</i> and <i>defensin-1, -2,</i> and <i>-6</i>) were later expressed and thus insects failed to stop the infection process. These results showed that <i>B. bassiana</i> Bb-C001 is a promised fungal strain to be incorporated in the current biological control programs of <i>T. infestans</i> in Salta province, Argentina.
Project description:Entomopathogenic fungi from the genus Beauveria (Vuillemin) play an important role in controlling insect populations and have been increasingly utilized for the biological control of insect pests. Various studies have reported that Beauveria bassiana (Bals.), Vuill. also has the ability to colonize a broad range of plant hosts as endophytes without causing disease but while still maintaining the capacity to infect insects. Beauveria is often applied as an inundative spore application, but little research has considered how plant colonization may alter the ability to persist in the environment. The aim of this study was to investigate potential interactions between B. bassiana and Zea mays L. (maize) in the rhizosphere following inoculation, in order to understand the factors that may affect environmental persistence of the fungi. The hypothesis was that different isolates of B. bassiana have the ability to colonize maize roots and/or rhizosphere soil, resulting in effects to the plant microbiome. To test this hypothesis, a two-step nested PCR protocol was developed to find and amplify Beauveria in planta or in soil; based on the translation elongation factor 1-alpha (ef1?) gene. The nested protocol was also designed to enable Beauveria species differentiation by sequence analysis. The impact of three selected B. bassiana isolates applied topically to roots on the rhizosphere soil community structure and function were consequently assessed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and MicroRespTM techniques. The microbial community structure and function were not significantly affected by the presence of the isolates, however, retention of the inocula in the rhizosphere at 30 days after inoculation was enhanced when plants were subjected to intensive wounding of foliage to crudely simulate herbivory. The plant defense response likely changed under wound stress resulting in the apparent recruitment of Beauveria in the rhizosphere, which may be an indirect defensive strategy against herbivory and/or the result of induced systemic susceptibility in maize enabling plant colonization.
Project description:<i>Beauveria bassiana</i> is an entomopathogenic fungus that is used for the biological control of different agricultural pest insects. <i>B. bassiana</i> is traditionally cultivated in submerged fermentation and solid-state fermentation systems to obtain secondary metabolites with antifungal activity and infective spores. This work presents the design and characterization of a new laboratory-scale biofilm bioreactor for the simultaneous production of oosporein and aerial conidia by <i>B. bassiana</i> PQ2. The reactor was built with materials available in a conventional laboratory. <i>K<sub>L</sub>a</i> was determined at different air flows (1.5-2.5 L/min) by two different methods in the liquid phase and in the exhaust gases. The obtained values showed that an air flow of 2.5 L/min is sufficient to ensure adequate aeration to produce aerial conidia and secondary metabolites by <i>B. bassiana</i>. Under the conditions studied, a concentration of 183 mg oosporein per liter and 1.24 × 10<sup>9</sup> spores per gram of support was obtained at 168 h of culture. These results indicate that the biofilm bioreactor represents a viable alternative for the production of products for biological control from <i>B. bassiana</i>.