Heterotrimeric G protein signaling in filamentous fungi.
ABSTRACT Filamentous fungi are multicellular eukaryotic organisms known for nutrient recycling as well as for antibiotic and food production. This group of organisms also contains the most devastating plant pathogens and several important human pathogens. Since the first report of heterotrimeric G proteins in filamentous fungi in 1993, it has been demonstrated that G proteins are essential for growth, asexual and sexual development, and virulence in both animal and plant pathogenic filamentous species. Numerous G protein subunit and G protein-coupled receptor genes have been identified, many from whole-genome sequences. Several regulatory pathways have now been delineated, including those for nutrient sensing, pheromone response and mating, and pathogenesis. This review provides a comparative analysis of G protein pathways in several filamentous species, with discussion of both unifying themes and important unique signaling paradigms.
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ABSTRACT: Aspergillus fumigatus is an important pathogen of immunocompromised hosts, causing pneumonia and invasive disseminated disease with high mortality. To determine the importance of the cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling pathway for virulence, the pkaC1 gene encoding a protein kinase A (PKA) catalytic subunit was cloned and characterized. Deletion of pkaC1 led to reduced conidiation and growth. PKA activity was not detectable in DeltapkaC1, DeltagpaB, and DeltaacyA mutant strains. gpaB and acyA encode a G protein alpha subunit involved in cAMP signal transduction and adenylate cyclase, respectively. Addition of cAMP led to PKA activity in crude extracts of both the DeltagpaB and DeltaacyA strains but not in crude extracts of the DeltapkaC1 strain. These findings provide evidence that PKAC1 represents the predominant form of PKA under the conditions tested, and GPAB and ACYA are members of the cAMP signaling cascade. Analysis of a pksPp-lacZ gene fusion indicated that the expression of the pathogenicity determinant-encoding pksP gene was reduced in DeltapkaC1 mutant strains compared with the expression of the gene fusion in the parental strain. In a low-dose murine inhalation model, conidia of both the DeltapkaC1 and DeltagpaB mutant strains were almost avirulent. Taken together, these findings indicate that the cAMP-PKA signal transduction pathway is required for A. fumigatus pathogenicity.Infection and Immunity 10/2004; 72(9):5193-203. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neurospora crassa is a central organism in the history of twentieth-century genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology. Here, we report a high-quality draft sequence of the N. crassa genome. The approximately 40-megabase genome encodes about 10,000 protein-coding genes--more than twice as many as in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe and only about 25% fewer than in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. Analysis of the gene set yields insights into unexpected aspects of Neurospora biology including the identification of genes potentially associated with red light photobiology, genes implicated in secondary metabolism, and important differences in Ca2+ signalling as compared with plants and animals. Neurospora possesses the widest array of genome defence mechanisms known for any eukaryotic organism, including a process unique to fungi called repeat-induced point mutation (RIP). Genome analysis suggests that RIP has had a profound impact on genome evolution, greatly slowing the creation of new genes through genomic duplication and resulting in a genome with an unusually low proportion of closely related genes.Nature 05/2003; 422(6934):859-68. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans possesses both asexual and sexual reproductive cycles. Sexual fruiting bodies (cleistothecia) can be formed in both homothallic (self) and heterothallic (outcross) conditions. In this study, we characterized two genes, gprA and gprB, that are predicted to encode putative G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) similar to fungal pheromone receptors. Deletion (Delta) of gprA or gprB resulted in the production of a few small cleistothecia carrying a reduced number of ascospores, whereas DeltagprADeltagprB eliminated fruiting body formation in homothallic conditions. However, nullifying gprA and/or gprB did not affect vegetative growth, asexual sporulation, Hülle cell formation or even cleistothecia formation in outcross, indicating that GprA and GprB are specifically required for self-fertilization. The gprA and gprB genes encode two transcripts and, for both genes, larger transcripts are detectable during vegetative growth and asexual development whereas smaller transcripts accumulate during sexual development. Upregulation of nsdD encoding a key sexual developmental activator resulted in the production of barren cleistothecia in the DeltagprADeltagprB mutant, suggesting that NsdD can partially rescue the developmental defects caused by deletion of GPCRs and that GprA/B-mediated signalling may activate other genes necessary for maturation of cleistothecia and ascosporogenesis. Deletion of gprA and/or gprB suppressed growth defects caused by DeltagprD, implying that GprA/B function downstream of GprD-mediated negative control of sexual development.Molecular Microbiology 10/2004; 53(6):1611-23. · 4.96 Impact Factor