ResearchPad - fungal-physiology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Mycelial biomass estimation and metabolic quotient of <i>Lentinula edodes</i> using species-specific qPCR]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15715 Lentinula edodes, commonly known as shiitake, is an edible mushroom that is cultivated and consumed around the globe, especially in Asia. Monitoring mycelial growth inside a woody substrate is difficult, but it is essential for effective management of mushroom cultivation. Mycelial biomass also affects the rate of wood decomposition under natural conditions and must be known to determine the metabolic quotient, an important ecophysiological parameter of fungal growth. Therefore, developing a method to measure it inside a substrate would be very useful. In this study, as the first step in understanding species-specific rates of fungal decomposition of wood, we developed species-specific primers and qPCR procedures for L. edodes. We tested primer specificity using strains of L. edodes from Japan and Southeast Asia, as well as related species of fungi and plant species for cultivation of L. edodes, and generated a calibration curve for quantification of mycelial biomass in wood dust inoculated with L. edodes. The qPCR procedure we developed can specifically detect L. edodes and allowed us to quantify the increase in L. edodes biomass in wood dust substrate and calculate the metabolic quotient based on the mycelial biomass and respiration rate. Development of a species-specific method for biomass quantification will be useful for both estimation of mycelial biomass and determining the kinetics of fungal growth in decomposition processes.

]]>
<![CDATA[Hydrophobin Film Structure for HFBI and HFBII and Mechanism for Accelerated Film Formation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db02ab0ee8fa60bc6fd7

Hydrophobins represent an important group of proteins from both a biological and nanotechnological standpoint. They are the means through which filamentous fungi affect their environment to promote growth, and their properties at interfaces have resulted in numerous applications. In our study we have combined protein docking, molecular dynamics simulation, and electron cryo-microscopy to gain atomistic level insight into the surface structure of films composed of two class II hydrophobins: HFBI and HFBII produced by Trichoderma reesei. Together our results suggest a unit cell composed of six proteins; however, our computational results suggest P6 symmetry, while our experimental results show P3 symmetry with a unit cell size of 56 Å. Our computational results indicate the possibility of an alternate ordering with a three protein unit cell with P3 symmetry and a smaller unit cell size, and we have used a Monte Carlo simulation of a spin model representing the hydrophobin film to show how this alternate metastable structure may play a role in increasing the rate of surface coverage by hydrophobin films, possibly indicating a mechanism of more general significance to both biology and nanotechnology.

]]>
<![CDATA[Identification of Degenerate Nuclei and Development of a SCAR Marker for Flammulina velutipes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9ecab0ee8fa60b6cdb2

Flammulina velutipes is one of the major edible mushrooms in the world. Recently, abnormalities that have a negative impact on crop production have been reported in this mushroom. These symptoms include slow vegetative growth, a compact mycelial mat, and few or even no fruiting bodies. The morphologies and fruiting capabilities of monokaryons of wild-type and degenerate strains that arose through arthrospore formation were investigated through test crossing. Only one monokaryotic group of the degenerate strains and its hybrid strains showed abnormal phenotypes. Because the monokaryotic arthrospore has the same nucleus as the parent strain, these results indicated that only one aberrant nucleus of the two nuclei in the degenerate strain was responsible for the degeneracy. A sequence-characterized amplified region marker that is linked to the degenerate monokaryon was identified based on a polymorphic sequence that was generated using random primers. Comparative analyses revealed the presence of a degenerate-specific genomic region in a telomere, which arose via the transfer of a genomic fragment harboring a putative helicase gene. Our findings have narrowed down the potential molecular targets responsible for this phenotype for future studies and have provided a marker for the detection of degenerate strains.

]]>
<![CDATA[Zinc Exploitation by Pathogenic Fungi]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da4bab0ee8fa60b8cd1d ]]> <![CDATA[Gene Expression Profiling during Conidiation in the Rice Blast Pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daedab0ee8fa60bbff9e

Conidiation of phytopathogenic fungi is a key developmental process that plays a central role in their life cycles and in epidemics. However, there is little information on conidiation-induced molecular changes in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. As a first step to understand conidiogenesis in this fungus, we measured genome-wide gene expression profiles during conidiation using a whole genome oligonucleotide microarray. At a two-fold expression difference, approximately 4.42% and 4.08% of genes were upregulated and downregulated, respectively, during conidiation. The differentially expressed genes were functionally categorized by gene ontology (GO) term analysis, which demonstrated that the gene set encoded proteins that function in metabolism, cell wall biosynthesis, transcription, and molecule transport. To define the events of the complicated process of conidiogenesis, another set of microarray experiments was performed using a deletion mutant for MoHOX2, a stage-specific transcriptional regulator essential for conidial formation, which was expressed de novo in a conidiation-specific manner in M. oryzae. Gene expression profiles were compared between the wild-type and the ΔMohox2 mutant during conidiation. This analysis defined a common gene set that was upregulated in the wild-type and downregulated in the ΔMohox2 mutant during conidiation; this gene set is expected to include conidiation-related downstream genes of MoHOX2. We identified several hundred genes that are differentially-expressed during conidiation; our results serve as an important resource for understanding the conidiation, a process in M. oryzae, which is critical for disease development.

]]>
<![CDATA[The Homeobox BcHOX8 Gene in Botrytis Cinerea Regulates Vegetative Growth and Morphology]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fcab0ee8fa60b726dd

Filamentous growth and the capacity at producing conidia are two critical aspects of most fungal life cycles, including that of many plant or animal pathogens. Here, we report on the identification of a homeobox transcription factor encoding gene that plays a role in these two particular aspects of the development of the phytopathogenic fungus Botrytis cinerea. Deletion of the BcHOX8 gene in both the B. cinerea B05-10 and T4 strains causes similar phenotypes, among which a curved, arabesque-like, hyphal growth on hydrophobic surfaces; the mutants were hence named Arabesque. Expression of the BcHOX8 gene is higher in conidia and infection cushions than in developing appressorium or mycelium. In the Arabesque mutants, colony growth rate is reduced and abnormal infection cushions are produced. Asexual reproduction is also affected with abnormal conidiophore being formed, strongly reduced conidia production and dramatic changes in conidial morphology. Finally, the mutation affects the fungus ability to efficiently colonize different host plants. Analysis of the B. cinerea genome shows that BcHOX8 is one member of a nine putative homeobox genes family. Available gene expression data suggest that these genes are functional and sequence comparisons indicate that two of them would be specific to B. cinerea and its close relative Sclerotinia sclerotiorum.

]]>
<![CDATA[Mycorrhiza Reduces Adverse Effects of Dark Septate Endophytes (DSE) on Growth of Conifers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4cab0ee8fa60bda8d5

Mycorrhizal roots are frequently colonized by fungi of the Phialocephala fortinii s.l. – Acephala applanata species complex (PAC). These ascomycetes are common and widespread colonizers of tree roots. Some PAC strains reduce growth increments of their hosts but are beneficial in protecting roots against pathogens. Nothing is known about the effects of PAC on mycorrhizal fungi and the PAC-mycorrhiza association on plant growth, even though these two fungal groups occur closely together in natural habitats. We expect reduced colonization rates and reduced negative effects of PAC on host plants if roots are co-colonized by an ectomycorrhizal fungus (ECM). Depending on the temperature regime interactions among the partners in this tripartite ECM-PAC-plant system might also change. To test our hypotheses, effects of four PAC genotypes (two pathogenic and two non-pathogenic on the Norway spruce), mycorrhization by Laccaria bicolor (strain S238N) and two temperature regimes (19°C and 25°C) on the biomass of the Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Norway spruce (Picea abies) seedlings were studied. Mycorrhization compensated the adverse effects of PAC on the growth of the Norway spruce at both temperatures. The growth of the Douglas-fir was not influenced either by PAC or mycorrhization at 19°C, but at 25°C mycorrhization had a similar protective effect as in the Norway spruce. The compensatory effects probably rely on the reduction of the PAC-colonization density by mycorrhizae. Temperature and the PAC strain only had a differential effect on the biomass of the Norway spruce but not on the Douglas-fir. Higher temperature reduced mycorrhization of both hosts. We conclude that ectomycorrhizae form physical and/or physiological barriers against PAC leading to reduced PAC-colonization of the roots. Additionally, our results indicate that global warming could cause a general decrease of mycorrhization making primary roots more accessible to other symbionts and pathogens.

]]>
<![CDATA[Identification of the CRE-1 Cellulolytic Regulon in Neurospora crassa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9dfab0ee8fa60b6900b

Background

In filamentous ascomycete fungi, the utilization of alternate carbon sources is influenced by the zinc finger transcription factor CreA/CRE-1, which encodes a carbon catabolite repressor protein homologous to Mig1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In Neurospora crassa, deletion of cre-1 results in increased secretion of amylase and β-galactosidase.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Here we show that a strain carrying a deletion of cre-1 has increased cellulolytic activity and increased expression of cellulolytic genes during growth on crystalline cellulose (Avicel). Constitutive expression of cre-1 complements the phenotype of a N. crassa Δcre-1 strain grown on Avicel, and also results in stronger repression of cellulolytic protein secretion and enzyme activity. We determined the CRE-1 regulon by investigating the secretome and transcriptome of a Δcre-1 strain as compared to wild type when grown on Avicel versus minimal medium. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-PCR of putative target genes showed that CRE-1 binds to only some adjacent 5′-SYGGRG-3′ motifs, consistent with previous findings in other fungi, and suggests that unidentified additional regulatory factors affect CRE-1 binding to promoter regions. Characterization of 30 mutants containing deletions in genes whose expression level increased in a Δcre-1 strain under cellulolytic conditions identified novel genes that affect cellulase activity and protein secretion.

Conclusions/Significance

Our data provide comprehensive information on the CRE-1 regulon in N. crassa and contribute to deciphering the global role of carbon catabolite repression in filamentous ascomycete fungi during plant cell wall deconstruction.

]]>
<![CDATA[Functional Characterization of Calcineurin Homologs PsCNA1/PsCNB1 in Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici Using a Host-Induced RNAi System]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae0ab0ee8fa60bbb8fd

Calcineurin plays a key role in morphogenesis, pathogenesis and drug resistance in most fungi. However, the function of calcineurin genes in Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (Pst) is unclear. We identified and characterized the calcineurin genes PsCNA1 and PsCNB1 in Pst. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that PsCNA1 and PsCNB1 form a calcium/calmodulin regulated protein phosphatase belonging to the calcineurin heterodimers composed of subunits A and B. Quantitative RT-PCR analyses revealed that both PsCNA1 and PsCNB1 expression reached their maximum in the stage of haustorium formation, which is one day after inoculation. Using barely stripe mosaic virus (BSMV) as a transient expression vector in wheat, the expression of PsCNA1 and PsCNB1 in Pst was suppressed, leading to slower extension of fungal hyphae and reduced production of urediospores. The immune-suppressive drugs cyclosporin A and FK506 markedly reduced the germination rates of urediospores, and when germination did occur, more than two germtubes were produced. These results suggest that the calcineurin signaling pathway participates in stripe rust morphogenetic differentiation, especially the formation of haustoria during the early stage of infection and during the production of urediospores. Therefore PsCNA1 and PsCNB1 can be considered important pathogenicity genes involved in the wheat-Pst interaction.

]]>
<![CDATA[eIF4E Is an Important Determinant of Adhesion and Pseudohyphal Growth of the Yeast S. cerevisiae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db14ab0ee8fa60bccb87

eIF4E, the cytoplasmatic cap-binding protein, is required for efficient cap-dependent translation. We have studied the influence of mutations that alter the activity and/or expression level of eIF4E on haploid and diploid cells in the yeast S. cerevisiae. Temperature-sensitive eIF4E mutants with reduced levels of expression and reduced cap-binding affinity clearly show a loss in haploid adhesion and diploid pseudohyphenation upon starvation for nitrogen. Some of these mutations affect the interaction of the cap-structure of mRNAs with the cap-binding groove of eIF4E. The observed reduction in adhesive and pseudohyphenating properties is less evident for an eIF4E mutant that shows reduced interaction with p20 (an eIF4E-binding protein) or for a p20-knockout mutant. Loss of adhesive and pseudohyphenating properties was not only observed for eIF4E mutants but also for knockout mutants of components of eIF4F such as eIF4B and eIF4G1. We conclude from these experiments that mutations that affect components of the eIF4F-complex loose properties such as adhesion and pseudohyphal differentiation, most likely due to less effective translation of required mRNAs for such processes.

]]>
<![CDATA[Deep Insight into the Ganoderma lucidum by Comprehensive Analysis of Its Transcriptome]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da14ab0ee8fa60b7a951

Background

Ganoderma lucidum is a basidiomycete white rot fungus and is of medicinal importance in China, Japan and other countries in the Asiatic region. To date, much research has been performed in identifying the medicinal ingredients in Ganoderma lucidum. Despite its important therapeutic effects in disease, little is known about Ganoderma lucidum at the genomic level. In order to gain a molecular understanding of this fungus, we utilized Illumina high-throughput technology to sequence and analyze the transcriptome of Ganoderma lucidum.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We obtained 6,439,690 and 6,416,670 high-quality reads from the mycelium and fruiting body of Ganoderma lucidum, and these were assembled to form 18,892 and 27,408 unigenes, respectively. A similarity search was performed against the NCBI non-redundant nucleotide database and a customized database composed of five fungal genomes. 11,098 and 8, 775 unigenes were matched to the NCBI non-redundant nucleotide database and our customized database, respectively. All unigenes were subjected to annotation by Gene Ontology, Eukaryotic Orthologous Group terms and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes. Differentially expressed genes from the Ganoderma lucidum mycelium and fruiting body stage were analyzed, resulting in the identification of 13 unigenes which are involved in the terpenoid backbone biosynthesis pathway. Quantitative real-time PCR was used to confirm the expression levels of these unigenes. Ganoderma lucidum was also studied for wood degrading activity and a total of 22 putative FOLymes (fungal oxidative lignin enzymes) and 120 CAZymes (carbohydrate-active enzymes) were predicted from our Ganoderma lucidum transcriptome.

Conclusions

Our study provides comprehensive gene expression information on Ganoderma lucidum at the transcriptional level, which will form the foundation for functional genomics studies in this fungus. The use of Illumina sequencing technology has made de novo transcriptome assembly and gene expression analysis possible in species that lack full genome information.

]]>
<![CDATA[The Influence of Different Stresses on Glomalin Levels in an Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungus—Salinity Increases Glomalin Content]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9fab0ee8fa60ba52a2

Glomalin is a glycoprotein produced by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, and the soil fraction containing glomalin is correlated with soil aggregation. Thus, factors potentially influencing glomalin production could be of relevance for this ecosystem process and for understanding AM fungal physiology. Previous work indicated that glomalin production in AM fungi may be a stress response, or related to suboptimal mycelium growth. We show here that environmental stress can enhance glomalin production in the mycelium of the AM fungus Glomus intraradices. We applied NaCl and glycerol in different intensities to the medium in which the fungus was grown in vitro, causing salinity stress and osmotic stress, respectively. As a third stress type, we simulated grazing on the extraradical hyphae of the fungus by mechanically injuring the mycelium by clipping. NaCl caused a strong increase, while the clipping treatment led to a marginally significant increase in glomalin production. Even though salinity stress includes osmotic stress, we found substantially different responses in glomalin production due to the NaCl and the glycerol treatment, as glycerol addition did not cause any response. Thus, our results indicate that glomalin is involved in inducible stress responses in AM fungi for salinity, and possibly grazing stress.

]]>
<![CDATA[Nestedness in Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities along Soil pH Gradients in Early Primary Succession: Acid-Tolerant Fungi Are pH Generalists]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3dab0ee8fa60bd5647

Soil acidity is a major constraint on plant productivity. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi support plant colonization in acidic soil, but soil acidity also constrains fungal growth and diversity. Fungi in extreme environments generally evolve towards specialists, suggesting that AM fungi in acidic soil are acidic-soil specialists. In our previous surveys, however, some AM fungi detected in strongly acidic soils could also be detected in a soil with moderate pH, which raised a hypothesis that the fungi in acidic soils are pH generalists. To test the hypothesis, we conducted a pH-manipulation experiment and also analyzed AM fungal distribution along a pH gradient in the field using a synthesized dataset of the previous and recent surveys. Rhizosphere soils of the generalist plant Miscanthus sinensis were collected both from a neutral soil and an acidic soil, and M. sinensis seedlings were grown at three different pH. For the analysis of field communities, rhizosphere soils of M. sinensis were collected from six field sites across Japan, which covered a soil pH range of 3.0–7.4, and subjected to soil trap culture. AM fungal community compositions were determined based on LSU rDNA sequences. In the pH-manipulation experiment the acidification of medium had a significant impact on the compositions of the community from the neutral soil, but the neutralization of the medium had no effect on those of the community from the acidic soil. Furthermore, the communities in lower -pH soils were subsets of (nested in) those in higher-pH soils. In the field communities a significant nestedness pattern was observed along the pH gradient. These observations suggest that the fungi in strongly acidic soils are pH generalists that occur not only in acidic soil but also in wide ranges of soil pH. Nestedness in AM fungal community along pH gradients may have important implications for plant community resilience and early primary succession after disturbance in acidic soils.

]]>
<![CDATA[Biological Roles of the Podospora anserina Mitochondrial Lon Protease and the Importance of Its N-Domain]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2dab0ee8fa60b8310a

Mitochondria have their own ATP-dependent proteases that maintain the functional state of the organelle. All multicellular eukaryotes, including filamentous fungi, possess the same set of mitochondrial proteases, unlike in unicellular yeasts, where ClpXP, one of the two matricial proteases, is absent. Despite the presence of ClpXP in the filamentous fungus Podospora anserina, deletion of the gene encoding the other matricial protease, PaLon1, leads to lethality at high and low temperatures, indicating that PaLON1 plays a main role in protein quality control. Under normal physiological conditions, the PaLon1 deletion is viable but decreases life span. PaLon1 deletion also leads to defects in two steps during development, ascospore germination and sexual reproduction, which suggests that PaLON1 ensures important regulatory functions during fungal development. Mitochondrial Lon proteases are composed of a central ATPase domain flanked by a large non-catalytic N-domain and a C-terminal protease domain. We found that three mutations in the N-domain of PaLON1 affected fungal life cycle, PaLON1 protein expression and mitochondrial proteolytic activity, which reveals the functional importance of the N-domain of the mitochondrial Lon protease. All PaLon1 mutations affected the C-terminal part of the N-domain. Considering that the C-terminal part is predicted to have an α helical arrangement in which the number, length and position of the helices are conserved with the solved structure of its bacterial homologs, we propose that this all-helical structure participates in Lon substrate interaction.

]]>
<![CDATA[Proteomic Analysis Reveals That Iron Availability Alters the Metabolic Status of the Pathogenic Fungus Paracoccidioides brasiliensis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9faab0ee8fa60b71b29

Paracoccidioides brasiliensis is a thermodimorphic fungus and the causative agent of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM). The ability of P. brasiliensis to uptake nutrients is fundamental for growth, but a reduction in the availability of iron and other nutrients is a host defense mechanism many pathogenic fungi must overcome. Thus, fungal mechanisms that scavenge iron from host may contribute to P. brasiliensis virulence. In order to better understand how P. brasiliensis adapts to iron starvation in the host we compared the two-dimensional (2D) gel protein profile of yeast cells during iron starvation to that of iron rich condition. Protein spots were selected for comparative analysis based on the protein staining intensity as determined by image analysis. A total of 1752 protein spots were selected for comparison, and a total of 274 out of the 1752 protein spots were determined to have changed significantly in abundance due to iron depletion. Ninety six of the 274 proteins were grouped into the following functional categories; energy, metabolism, cell rescue, virulence, cell cycle, protein synthesis, protein fate, transcription, cellular communication, and cell fate. A correlation between protein and transcript levels was also discovered using quantitative RT-PCR analysis from RNA obtained from P. brasiliensis under iron restricting conditions and from yeast cells isolated from infected mouse spleens. In addition, western blot analysis and enzyme activity assays validated the differential regulation of proteins identified by 2-D gel analysis. We observed an increase in glycolytic pathway protein regulation while tricarboxylic acid cycle, glyoxylate and methylcitrate cycles, and electron transport chain proteins decreased in abundance under iron limiting conditions. These data suggest a remodeling of P. brasiliensis metabolism by prioritizing iron independent pathways.

]]>
<![CDATA[Towards Defining Nutrient Conditions Encountered by the Rice Blast Fungus during Host Infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf0ab0ee8fa60bc0e7d

Fungal diseases cause enormous crop losses, but defining the nutrient conditions encountered by the pathogen remains elusive. Here, we generated a mutant strain of the devastating rice pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae impaired for de novo methionine biosynthesis. The resulting methionine-requiring strain grew strongly on synthetic minimal media supplemented with methionine, aspartate or complex mixtures of partially digested proteins, but could not establish disease in rice leaves. Live-cell-imaging showed the mutant could produce normal appressoria and enter host cells but failed to develop, indicating the availability or accessibility of aspartate and methionine is limited in the plant. This is the first report to demonstrate the utility of combining biochemical genetics, plate growth tests and live-cell-imaging to indicate what nutrients might not be readily available to the fungal pathogen in rice host cells.

]]>
<![CDATA[Transcriptional Profiling of a Yeast Colony Provides New Insight into the Heterogeneity of Multicellular Fungal Communities]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dabaab0ee8fa60bae7fd

Understanding multicellular fungal structures is important for designing better strategies against human fungal pathogens. For example, the ability to form multicellular biofilms is a key virulence property of the yeast Candida albicans. C. albicans biofilms form on indwelling medical devices and are drug resistant, causing serious infections in hospital settings. Multicellular fungal communities are heterogeneous, consisting of cells experiencing different environments. Heterogeneity is likely important for the phenotypic characteristics of communities, yet it is poorly understood. Here we used colonies of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model fungal multicellular structure. We fractionated the outside colony layers from the cells in the center by FACS, using a Cit1-GFP marker expressed exclusively on the outside. Transcriptomics analysis of the two subpopulations revealed that the outside colony layers are actively growing by fermentative metabolism, while the cells residing on the inside are in a resting state and experience changes to mitochondrial activity. Our data shows several parallels with C. albicans biofilms providing insight into the contributions of heterogeneity to biofilm phenotypes. Hallmarks of C. albicans biofilms – the expression of ribosome and translation functions and activation of glycolysis and ergosterol biosynthesis occur on the outside of colonies, while expression of genes associates with sulfur assimilation is observed in the colony center. Cell wall restructuring occurs in biofilms, and cell wall functions are enriched in both fractions: the outside cells display enrichment of cell wall biosynthesis enzymes and cell wall proteins, while the inside cells express cell wall degrading enzymes. Our study also suggests that noncoding transcription and posttranscriptional mRNA regulation play important roles during growth of yeast in colonies, setting the scene for investigating these pathways in the development of multicellular fungal communities.

]]>
<![CDATA[The Fungal Fast Lane: Common Mycorrhizal Networks Extend Bioactive Zones of Allelochemicals in Soils]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da41ab0ee8fa60b8a095

Allelopathy, a phenomenon where compounds produced by one plant limit the growth of surrounding plants, is a controversially discussed factor in plant-plant interactions with great significance for plant community structure. Common mycorrhizal networks (CMNs) form belowground networks that interconnect multiple plant species; yet these networks are typically ignored in studies of allelopathy. We tested the hypothesis that CMNs facilitate transport of allelochemicals from supplier to target plants, thereby affecting allelopathic interactions. We analyzed accumulation of a model allelopathic substance, the herbicide imazamox, and two allelopathic thiophenes released from Tagetes tenuifolia roots, by diffusion through soil and CMNs. We also conducted bioassays to determine how the accumulated substances affected plant growth. All compounds accumulated to greater levels in target soils with CMNs as opposed to soils without CMNs. This increased accumulation was associated with reduced growth of target plants in soils with CMNs. Our results show that CMNs support transfer of allelochemicals from supplier to target plants and thus lead to allelochemical accumulation at levels that could not be reached by diffusion through soil alone. We conclude that CMNs expand the bioactive zones of allelochemicals in natural environments, with significant implications for interspecies chemical interactions in plant communities.

]]>
<![CDATA[Wood Utilization Is Dependent on Catalase Activities in the Filamentous Fungus Podospora anserina]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9ddab0ee8fa60b68552

Catalases are enzymes that play critical roles in protecting cells against the toxic effects of hydrogen peroxide. They are implicated in various physiological and pathological conditions but some of their functions remain unclear. In order to decipher the role(s) of catalases during the life cycle of Podospora anserina, we analyzed the role of the four monofunctional catalases and one bifunctional catalase-peroxidase genes present in its genome. The five genes were deleted and the phenotypes of each single and all multiple mutants were investigated. Intriguingly, although the genes are differently expressed during the life cycle, catalase activity is dispensable during both vegetative growth and sexual reproduction in laboratory conditions. Catalases are also not essential for cellulose or fatty acid assimilation. In contrast, they are strictly required for efficient utilization of more complex biomass like wood shavings by allowing growth in the presence of lignin. The secreted CATB and cytosolic CAT2 are the major catalases implicated in peroxide resistance, while CAT2 is the major player during complex biomass assimilation. Our results suggest that P. anserina produces external H2O2 to assimilate complex biomass and that catalases are necessary to protect the cells during this process. In addition, the phenotypes of strains lacking only one catalase gene suggest that a decrease of catalase activity improves the capacity of the fungus to degrade complex biomass.

]]>
<![CDATA[How Peroxisomes Affect Aflatoxin Biosynthesis in Aspergillus Flavus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4aab0ee8fa60bd9e0f

In filamentous fungi, peroxisomes are crucial for the primary metabolism and play a pivotal role in the formation of some secondary metabolites. Further, peroxisomes are important site for fatty acids β-oxidation, the formation of reactive oxygen species and for their scavenging through a complex of antioxidant activities. Oxidative stress is involved in different metabolic events in all organisms and it occurs during oxidative processes within the cell, including peroxisomal β-oxidation of fatty acids. In Aspergillus flavus, an unbalance towards an hyper-oxidant status into the cell is a prerequisite for the onset of aflatoxin biosynthesis. In our preliminary results, the use of bezafibrate, inducer of both peroxisomal β-oxidation and peroxisome proliferation in mammals, significantly enhanced the expression of pex11 and foxA and stimulated aflatoxin synthesis in A. flavus. This suggests the existence of a correlation among peroxisome proliferation, fatty acids β-oxidation and aflatoxin biosynthesis. To investigate this correlation, A. flavus was transformed with a vector containing P33, a gene from Cymbidium ringspot virus able to induce peroxisome proliferation, under the control of the promoter of the Cu,Zn-sod gene of A. flavus. This transcriptional control closely relates the onset of the antioxidant response to ROS increase, with the proliferation of peroxisomes in A. flavus. The AfP33 transformant strain show an up-regulation of lipid metabolism and an higher content of both intracellular ROS and some oxylipins. The combined presence of a higher amount of substrates (fatty acids-derived), an hyper-oxidant cell environment and of hormone-like signals (oxylipins) enhances the synthesis of aflatoxins in the AfP33 strain. The results obtained demonstrated a close link between peroxisome metabolism and aflatoxin synthesis.

]]>