Publications by authors named "Maria Célia Bertolini"

37 Publications

Biochemical and biophysical characterization of the RVB-1/RVB-2 protein complex, the RuvBL/RVB homologues in Neurospora crassa.

Biochimie 2021 Dec 8;191:11-26. Epub 2021 Aug 8.

Departamento de Bioquímica e Química Orgânica, Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP, 14.800-060, Araraquara, SP, Brazil. Electronic address:

The RVB proteins, composed of the conservative paralogs, RVB1 and RVB2, belong to the AAA+ (ATPases Associated with various cellular Activities) protein superfamily and are present in archaea and eukaryotes. The most distinct structural features are their ability to interact with each other forming the RVB1/2 complex and their participation in several macromolecular protein complexes leading them to be involved in many biological processes. We report here the biochemical and biophysical characterization of the Neurospora crassa RVB-1/RVB-2 complex. Chromatographic analyses revealed that the complex (APO) predominantly exists as a dimer in solution although hexamers were also observed. Nucleotides influence the oligomerization state, while ATP favors hexamers formation, ADP favors the formation of multimeric states, likely dodecamers, and the Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations revealed the contribution of certain amino acid residues in the nucleotide stabilization. The complex binds to dsDNA fragments and exhibits ATPase activity, which is strongly enhanced in the presence of DNA. In addition, both GFP-fused proteins are predominantly nuclear, and their nuclear localization signals (NLS) interact with importin-α (NcIMPα). Our findings show that some properties are specific of the fungus proteins despite of their high identity to orthologous proteins. They are essential proteins in N. crassa, and the phenotypic defects exhibited by the heterokaryotic strains, mainly related to growth and development, indicate N. crassa as a promising organism to investigate additional biological and structural aspects of these proteins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biochi.2021.08.002DOI Listing
December 2021

Transcriptional Control of the Production of Aspergillus fumigatus Conidia-Borne Secondary Metabolite Fumiquinazoline C Important for Phagocytosis Protection.

Genetics 2021 05;218(1)

Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.

Aspergillus fumigatus produces diverse secondary metabolites whose biological functions and regulation remain to be understood. Despite the importance of the conidia for this fungus, the role of the conidia-born metabolite fumiquinazoline C (FqC) is unclear. Here, we describe a dual function of the cell-wall integrity pathway in regulating FqC biosynthesis dictated by the MAPK kinase MpkA, which phosphorylates one of the nonribosomal peptide synthetases enzymes of the cluster (FmqC), and the transcription factor RlmA, which directly regulates the expression of fmq genes. Another level of crosstalk between the FqC regulation and the cell physiology is described since the deletion of the stress-responsive transcription factor sebA provokes derepression of the fmq cluster and overproduction of FqC. Thus, we describe a mechanism by which A. fumigatus controls FqC biosynthesis orchestrated by MpkA-RlmA and SebA and hence enabling survival and adaptation to the environmental niche, given that FqC is a deterrent of ameba predation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/genetics/iyab036DOI Listing
May 2021

Comparative study of the interactions between fungal transcription factor nuclear localization sequences with mammalian and fungal importin-alpha.

Sci Rep 2020 01 29;10(1):1458. Epub 2020 Jan 29.

Departamento de Física e Biofísica, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil.

Importin-α (Impα) is an adaptor protein that binds to cargo proteins (containing Nuclear Localization Sequences - NLSs), for their translocation to the nucleus. The specificities of the Impα/NLS interactions have been studied, since these features could be used as important tools to find potential NLSs in nuclear proteins or even for the development of targets to inhibit nuclear import or to design peptides for drug delivery. Few structural studies have compared different Impα variants from the same organism or Impα of different organisms. Previously, we investigated nuclear transport of transcription factors with Neurospora crassa Impα (NcImpα). Herein, NIT-2 and PAC-3 transcription factors NLSs were studied in complex with Mus musculus Impα (MmImpα). Calorimetric assays demonstrated that the PAC-3 NLS peptide interacts with both Impα proteins with approximately the same affinity. The NIT-2 NLS sequence binds with high affinity to the Impα major binding site from both organisms, but its binding to minor binding sites reveals interesting differences due to the presence of additional interactions of NIT-2-NLS with MmImpα. These findings, together with previous results with Impα from other organisms, indicate that the differential affinity of NLSs to minor binding sites may be also responsible for the selectivity of some cargo proteins recognition and transport.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-58316-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6989684PMC
January 2020

The pH Signaling Transcription Factor PAC-3 Regulates Metabolic and Developmental Processes in Pathogenic Fungi.

Front Microbiol 2019 4;10:2076. Epub 2019 Sep 4.

Department of Genetics, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.

The zinc finger transcription factor PAC-3/RIM101/PacC has a defined role in the secretion of enzymes and proteins in response to ambient pH, and also contributes to the virulence of species. Herein we evaluated the role of PAC-3 in the regulation of genes, in a model that examined the plant-fungi interactions. is a model fungal species capable of exhibiting dynamic responses to its environment by employing endophytic or phytopathogenic behavior according to a given circumstance. Since plant growth and productivity are highly affected by pH and phosphorus (P) acquisition, we sought to verify the impact that induction of a Δ mutation would have under limited and sufficient Pi availability, while ensuring that the targeted physiological adjustments mimicked ambient pH and nutritional conditions required for efficient fungal growth and development. Our results suggest direct regulatory functions for PAC-3 in cell wall biosynthesis, homeostasis, oxidation-reduction processes, hydrolase activity, transmembrane transport, and modulation of genes associated with fungal virulence. Pi-dependent modulation was observed mainly in genes encoding for transporter proteins or related to cell wall development, thereby advancing the current understanding regarding colonization and adaptation processes in response to challenging environments. We have also provided comprehensive evidence that suggests a role for PAC-3 as a global regulator in plant pathogenic fungi, thus presenting results that have the potential to be applied to various types of microbes, with diverse survival mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.02076DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6738131PMC
September 2019

Characterization of an OrtT-like toxin of Salmonella enterica serovar Houten.

Braz J Microbiol 2019 07 4;50(3):839-848. Epub 2019 May 4.

Institute of Chemistry, São Paulo State University, Araraquara, SP, Brazil.

The Escherichia coli GhoT/GhoS system is a type V toxin-antitoxin system in which the antitoxin GhoS cleaves the GhoT mRNA, controlling its translation. GhoT is a small hydrophobic protein that damages bacterial membranes. OrtT is a GhoT-like toxin, but it apparently lacks a corresponding antitoxin and serves a different physiologic role. Using a profile hidden Markov model approach, a Salmonella enterica serovar Houten genome was screened to obtain homologs of GhoT/OrtT. We only found one protein (referred to here as OrtT-Sal) that shared more sequence identity with OrtT than GhoT. The chromosomal region around the coding sequence of OrtT-Sal suggests that it is an orphan toxin and can be under RpoH activation. To study OrtT-Sal, we chemically synthesized and expressed in E. coli the whole toxin and its N- and C-terminal regions (OrtT-Sal and OrtT-Sal, respectively). Our findings have shown that the overproduction of the polypeptides resulted in severe growth inhibition and cell lysis. Using circular dichroism, we found that OrtT-Sal, OrtT-Sal, and OrtT-Sal form an alpha-helical structure in the presence of SDS micelles or TFE. Finally, using carboxyfluorescein-loaded lipid vesicles, we determined that the polypeptides damage lipid membrane directly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s42770-019-00085-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6863217PMC
July 2019

Circadian clock regulation of the glycogen synthase () gene by WCC is critical for rhythmic glycogen metabolism in .

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 05 2;116(21):10435-10440. Epub 2019 May 2.

Department of Pharmacology and Systems Physiology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0575;

Circadian clocks generate rhythms in cellular functions, including metabolism, to align biological processes with the 24-hour environment. Disruption of this alignment by shift work alters glucose homeostasis. Glucose homeostasis depends on signaling and allosteric control; however, the molecular mechanisms linking the clock to glucose homeostasis remain largely unknown. We investigated the molecular links between the clock and glycogen metabolism, a conserved glucose homeostatic process, in We find that glycogen synthase () mRNA, glycogen phosphorylase () mRNA, and glycogen levels, accumulate with a daily rhythm controlled by the circadian clock. Because the synthase and phosphorylase are critical to homeostasis, their roles in generating glycogen rhythms were investigated. We demonstrate that while was necessary for glycogen production, constitutive expression resulted in high and arrhythmic glycogen levels, and deletion of abolished mRNA rhythms and rhythmic glycogen accumulation. Furthermore, we show that promoter activity is rhythmic and is directly controlled by core clock component white collar complex (WCC). We also discovered that WCC-regulated transcription factors, VOS-1 and CSP-1, modulate the phase and amplitude of rhythmic mRNA, and these changes are similarly reflected in glycogen oscillations. Together, these data indicate the importance of clock-regulated transcription over signaling or allosteric control of glycogen rhythms, a mechanism that is potentially conserved in mammals and critical to metabolic homeostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1815360116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6534987PMC
May 2019

The copper-inducible copAB operon in Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri is regulated at transcriptional and translational levels.

Microbiology (Reading) 2019 03 28;165(3):355-365. Epub 2019 Jan 28.

1​Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, Instituto de Química, UNESP, Universidade Estadual Paulista, 14800-900, Araraquara, SP, Brazil.

Upstream open reading frames (ORFs) are frequently found in the 5'-flanking regions of genes and may have a regulatory role in gene expression. A small ORF (named cohL here) was identified upstream from the copAB copper operon in Xanthomonascitri subsp. citri (Xac). We previously demonstrated that copAB expression was induced by copper and that gene inactivation produced a mutant strain that was unable to grow in the presence of copper. Here, we address the role of cohL in copAB expression control. We demonstrate that cohL expression is induced by copper in a copAB-independent manner. Although cohL is transcribed, the CohL protein is either not expressed in vivo or is synthesized at undetectable levels. Inactivation of cohL (X. citri cohL polar mutant strain) leads to an inability to synthesize cohL and copAB transcripts and consequently the inability to grow in the presence of copper. Bioinformatic tools predicted a stem-loop structure for the cohL-copAB intergenic region and revealed that this region may arrange itself in a secondary structure. Using in vitro gene expression, we found out that the structured 5'-UTR mRNA of copAB is responsible for sequestering the ribosome-binding site that drives the translation of copA. However, copper alone was not able to release the sequence. Based on the results, we speculate that cohL plays a role as a regulatory RNA rather than as a protein-coding gene.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.000767DOI Listing
March 2019

Neurospora crassa developmental control mediated by the FLB-3 transcription factor.

Fungal Biol 2018 06 1;122(6):570-582. Epub 2018 Mar 1.

Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, Instituto de Química, UNESP, Universidade Estadual Paulista, 14800-060, Araraquara, SP, Brazil. Electronic address:

Here, we report that the Neurospora crassa FLB-3 protein, the ortholog of the Aspergillus nidulans FlbC transcription factor, is required for developmental control. Deletion of flb-3 leads to changes in hyphae morphology and affects sexual and asexual development. We identified, as putative FLB-3 targets, the N. crassa aba-1, wet-1 and vos-1 genes, orthologs of the ones involved in A. nidulans asexual development and that work downstream of FlbC (abaA, wetA and vosA). In N. crassa, these three genes require FLB-3 for proper expression; however, they appear not to be required for normal development, as demonstrated by gene expression analyses during vegetative growth and asexual development. Moreover, mutant strains in the three genes conidiate well and produce viable conidia. We also determined FLB-3 DNA-binding preferences via protein-binding microarrays (PBMs) and demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) that FLB-3 binds the aba-1, wet-1 and vos-1 promoters. Our data support an important role for FLB-3 in N. crassa development and highlight differences between the regulatory pathways controlled by this transcription factor in different fungal species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2018.01.004DOI Listing
June 2018

The second International Symposium on Fungal Stress: ISFUS.

Fungal Biol 2018 06 20;122(6):386-399. Epub 2017 Nov 20.

Instituto de Patologia Tropical e Saúde Pública, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Goiânia, GO 74605-050, Brazil. Electronic address:

The topic of 'fungal stress' is central to many important disciplines, including medical mycology, chronobiology, plant and insect pathology, industrial microbiology, material sciences, and astrobiology. The International Symposium on Fungal Stress (ISFUS) brought together researchers, who study fungal stress in a variety of fields. The second ISFUS was held in May 8-11 2017 in Goiania, Goiás, Brazil and hosted by the Instituto de Patologia Tropical e Saúde Pública at the Universidade Federal de Goiás. It was supported by grants from CAPES and FAPEG. Twenty-seven speakers from 15 countries presented their research related to fungal stress biology. The Symposium was divided into seven topics: 1. Fungal biology in extreme environments; 2. Stress mechanisms and responses in fungi: molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, and cellular biology; 3. Fungal photobiology in the context of stress; 4. Role of stress in fungal pathogenesis; 5. Fungal stress and bioremediation; 6. Fungal stress in agriculture and forestry; and 7. Fungal stress in industrial applications. This article provides an overview of the science presented and discussed at ISFUS-2017.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.funbio.2017.10.011DOI Listing
June 2018

Functional diversity in the pH signaling pathway: an overview of the pathway regulation in Neurospora crassa.

Curr Genet 2018 Jun 8;64(3):529-534. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, Instituto de Química, UNESP, Universidade Estadual Paulista, 14800-060, Araraquara, SP, Brazil.

Microorganisms have the ability to adapt and respond to different environmental conditions, whether they are stressful or not. Although the detection and/or responding mechanisms are often unknown, a large number of proteins may participate in signal transduction pathways involved in environmental stimulus to induce physiological and cellular events. Here, we examine the important role in cell homeostasis that extracellular pH plays in different fungi, and summarize the recent data reported in distinct organisms, by comparing them to the well-characterized mechanisms firstly described in Aspergillus and yeast. While most of the knowledge regarding the cellular processes triggered by the pH signaling pathway is based on the work in these two organisms, new data have been emerging in a diverse group of filamentous fungi, namely the involvement of this signaling pathway in metabolism and fungal pathogenicity. In this review, we present the major aspects of the pH signaling pathway in different model organisms, focusing on the protein components and the biological processes influenced by this pathway. In particular, we discuss novel cellular processes regulated by this pathway in the fungus Neurospora crassa. The diversity of functional processes that are affected under pH stress highlights how broadly this condition impacts on basic cellular processes in fungi and reveals how divergent fungal species are.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00294-017-0772-xDOI Listing
June 2018

Nuclear transport of the NIT-2 transcription factor is mediated by importin-α.

Biochem J 2017 12 6;474(24):4091-4104. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Departamento de Física e Biofísica, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil.

The NIT-2 transcription factor belongs to the GATA transcription factor family and plays a fundamental role in the regulation of nitrogen metabolism. Because NIT-2 acts by accessing DNA inside the nucleus, understanding the nuclear import process of NIT-2 is necessary to characterize its function. Thus, in the present study, NIT-2 nuclear transport was investigated using a combination of biochemical, cellular, and biophysical methods. A complemented strain that produced an sfGFP-NIT-2 fusion protein was constructed, and nuclear localization assessments were made under conditions that favored protein translocation to the nucleus. Nuclear translocation was also investigated using HeLa cells, which showed that the putative NIT-2 nuclear localization sequence (NLS; TISSKRQRRHSKS) was recognized by importin-α and that subsequent transport occurred via the classical import pathway. The interaction between the importin-α (NcImpα) and the NIT-2 NLS was quantified with calorimetric assays, leading to the observation that the peptide bound to two sites with different affinities, which is typical of a monopartite NLS sequence. The crystal structure of the NcImpα/NIT-2 NLS complex was solved and revealed that the NIT-2 peptide binds to NcImpα with the major NLS-binding site playing a primary role. This result contrasts other recent studies that suggested a major role for the minor NLS-binding site in importin-α from the α2 family, indicating that both sites can be used for different cargo proteins according to specific metabolic requirements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BCJ20170654DOI Listing
December 2017

The CrzA Transcription Factor Activates Chitin Synthase Gene Expression during the Caspofungin Paradoxical Effect.

mBio 2017 06 13;8(3). Epub 2017 Jun 13.

Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil

is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes invasive aspergillosis (IA), a life-threatening disease in immunocompromised humans. The echinocandin caspofungin, adopted as a second-line therapy in combating IA, is a β-1,3-glucan synthase inhibitor, which, when used in high concentrations, reverts the anticipated growth inhibition, a phenomenon called the "caspofungin paradoxical effect" (CPE). The CPE has been widely associated with increased chitin content in the cell wall due to a compensatory upregulation of chitin synthase-encoding genes. Here, we demonstrate that the CPE is dependent on the cell wall integrity (CWI) mitogen-activated protein kinase MpkA and its associated transcription factor (TF) RlmA, which regulate chitin synthase gene expression in response to different concentrations of caspofungin. Furthermore, the calcium- and calcineurin-dependent TF CrzA binds to and regulates the expression of specific chitin synthase genes during the CPE. These results suggest that the regulation of cell wall biosynthetic genes occurs by several cellular signaling pathways. In addition, CrzA is also involved in cell wall organization in the absence of caspofungin. Differences in the CPE were also observed between two clinical isolates, which led to the identification of a novel basic leucine zipper TF, termed ZipD. This TF functions in the calcium-calcineurin pathway and is involved in the regulation of cell wall biosynthesis genes. This study therefore unraveled additional mechanisms and novel factors governing the CPE response, which ultimately could aid in developing more effective antifungal therapies. Systemic infections are often accompanied by high mortality rates. The fungal cell wall is important for infection as it has immunomodulatory and immunoevasive properties. Paradoxical growth of in the presence of high concentrations of the cell wall-disturbing agent caspofungin has been observed for more than a decade, although the mechanistic nature of this phenomenon remains largely uncharacterized. Here, we show that the CWI pathway components MpkA and RlmA as well as the calcium/calcineurin-responsive transcription factor CrzA regulate the expression of cell wall biosynthetic genes during the caspofungin paradoxical effect (CPE). Furthermore, an additional, novel calcium/calcineurin-responsive transcription factor was identified to play a role in cell wall biosynthesis gene expression during the CPE. This work paints a crucial role for calcium metabolism in the CPE and provides further insight into the complex regulation of cell wall biosynthesis, which could ultimately lead to the development of more efficient antifungal therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00705-17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5472186PMC
June 2017

Regulation of the reserve carbohydrate metabolism by alkaline pH and calcium in Neurospora crassa reveals a possible cross-regulation of both signaling pathways.

BMC Genomics 2017 06 9;18(1):457. Epub 2017 Jun 9.

Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Instituto de Química, Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, Araraquara, SP, 14800-060, Brazil.

Background: Glycogen and trehalose are storage carbohydrates and their levels in microorganisms vary according to environmental conditions. In Neurospora crassa, alkaline pH stress highly influences glycogen levels, and in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the response to pH stress also involves the calcineurin signaling pathway mediated by the Crz1 transcription factor. Recently, in yeast, pH stress response genes were identified as targets of Crz1 including genes involved in glycogen and trehalose metabolism. In this work, we present evidence that in N. crassa the glycogen and trehalose metabolism is modulated by alkaline pH and calcium stresses.

Results: We demonstrated that the pH signaling pathway in N. crassa controls the accumulation of the reserve carbohydrates glycogen and trehalose via the PAC-3 transcription factor, which is the central regulator of the signaling pathway. The protein binds to the promoters of most of the genes encoding enzymes of glycogen and trehalose metabolism and regulates their expression. We also demonstrated that the reserve carbohydrate levels and gene expression are both modulated under calcium stress and that the response to calcium stress may involve the concerted action of PAC-3. Calcium activates growth of the Δpac-3 strain and influences its glycogen and trehalose accumulation. In addition, calcium stress differently regulates glycogen and trehalose metabolism in the mutant strain compared to the wild-type strain. While glycogen levels are decreased in both strains, the trehalose levels are significantly increased in the wild-type strain and not affected by calcium in the mutant strain when compared to mycelium not exposed to calcium.

Conclusions: We previously reported the role of PAC-3 as a transcription factor involved in glycogen metabolism regulation by controlling the expression of the gsn gene, which encodes an enzyme of glycogen synthesis. In this work, we extended the investigation by studying in greater detail the effects of pH on the metabolism of the reserve carbohydrate glycogen and trehalose. We also demonstrated that calcium stress affects the reserve carbohydrate levels and the response to calcium stress may require PAC-3. Considering that the reserve carbohydrate metabolism may be subjected to different signaling pathways control, our data contribute to the understanding of the N. crassa responses under pH and calcium stresses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12864-017-3832-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5466789PMC
June 2017

Comparative proteomic analysis of Xanthomonas citri ssp. citri periplasmic proteins reveals changes in cellular envelope metabolism during in vitro pathogenicity induction.

Mol Plant Pathol 2018 01 5;19(1):143-157. Epub 2017 Feb 5.

Laboratório de Bioquímica e Biologia Molecular Aplicada, Departamento de Genética e Evolução, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, UFSCar, São Carlos, SP, 13565-905, Brazil.

Citrus canker is a plant disease caused by Gram-negative bacteria from the genus Xanthomonas. The most virulent species is Xanthomonas citri ssp. citri (XAC), which attacks a wide range of citrus hosts. Differential proteomic analysis of the periplasm-enriched fraction was performed for XAC cells grown in pathogenicity-inducing (XAM-M) and pathogenicity-non-inducing (nutrient broth) media using two-dimensional electrophoresis combined with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Amongst the 40 proteins identified, transglycosylase was detected in a highly abundant spot in XAC cells grown under inducing condition. Additional up-regulated proteins related to cellular envelope metabolism included glucose-1-phosphate thymidylyltransferase, dTDP-4-dehydrorhamnose-3,5-epimerase and peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans-isomerase. Phosphoglucomutase and superoxide dismutase proteins, known to be involved in pathogenicity in other Xanthomonas species or organisms, were also detected. Western blot and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses for transglycosylase and superoxide dismutase confirmed that these proteins were up-regulated under inducing condition, consistent with the proteomic results. Multiple spots for the 60-kDa chaperonin and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase were identified, suggesting the presence of post-translational modifications. We propose that substantial alterations in cellular envelope metabolism occur during the XAC infectious process, which are related to several aspects, from defence against reactive oxygen species to exopolysaccharide synthesis. Our results provide new candidates for virulence-related proteins, whose abundance correlates with the induction of pathogenicity and virulence genes, such as hrpD6, hrpG, hrpB7, hpa1 and hrpX. The results present new potential targets against XAC to be investigated in further functional studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mpp.12507DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6638008PMC
January 2018

Molecular Components of the Neurospora crassa pH Signaling Pathway and Their Regulation by pH and the PAC-3 Transcription Factor.

PLoS One 2016 24;11(8):e0161659. Epub 2016 Aug 24.

Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP, 14.800-060, Araraquara, São Paulo, Brazil.

Environmental pH induces a stress response triggering a signaling pathway whose components have been identified and characterized in several fungi. Neurospora crassa shares all six components of the Aspergillus nidulans pH signaling pathway, and we investigate here their regulation during an alkaline pH stress response. We show that the N. crassa pal mutant strains, with the exception of Δpal-9, which is the A. nidulans palI homolog, exhibit low conidiation and are unable to grow at alkaline pH. Moreover, they accumulate the pigment melanin, most likely via regulation of the tyrosinase gene by the pH signaling components. The PAC-3 transcription factor binds to the tyrosinase promoter and negatively regulates its gene expression. PAC-3 also binds to all pal gene promoters, regulating their expression at normal growth pH and/or alkaline pH, which indicates a feedback regulation of PAC-3 in the pal gene expression. In addition, PAC-3 binds to the pac-3 promoter only at alkaline pH, most likely influencing the pac-3 expression at this pH suggesting that the activation of PAC-3 in N. crassa results from proteolytic processing and gene expression regulation by the pH signaling components. In N. crassa, PAC-3 is proteolytically processed in a single cleavage step predominately at alkaline pH; however, low levels of the processed protein can be observed at normal growth pH. We also demonstrate that PAC-3 preferentially localizes in the nucleus at alkaline pH stress and that the translocation may require the N. crassa importin-α since the PAC-3 nuclear localization signal (NLS) has a strong in vitro affinity with importin-α. The data presented here show that the pH signaling pathway in N. crassa shares all the components with the A. nidulans and S. cerevisiae pathways; however, it exhibits some properties not previously described in either organism.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161659PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4996508PMC
July 2017

The SEB-1 Transcription Factor Binds to the STRE Motif in Neurospora crassa and Regulates a Variety of Cellular Processes Including the Stress Response and Reserve Carbohydrate Metabolism.

G3 (Bethesda) 2016 05 3;6(5):1327-43. Epub 2016 May 3.

Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), 14800-060, Araraquara, São Paulo, Brazil

When exposed to stress conditions, all cells induce mechanisms resulting in an attempt to adapt to stress that involve proteins which, once activated, trigger cell responses by modulating specific signaling pathways. In this work, using a combination of pulldown assays and mass spectrometry analyses, we identified the Neurospora crassa SEB-1 transcription factor that binds to the Stress Response Element (STRE) under heat stress. Orthologs of SEB-1 have been functionally characterized in a few filamentous fungi as being involved in stress responses; however, the molecular mechanisms mediated by this transcription factor may not be conserved. Here, we provide evidences for the involvement of N. crassa SEB-1 in multiple cellular processes, including response to heat, as well as osmotic and oxidative stress. The Δseb-1 strain displayed reduced growth under these conditions, and genes encoding stress-responsive proteins were differentially regulated in the Δseb-1 strain grown under the same conditions. In addition, the SEB-1-GFP protein translocated from the cytosol to the nucleus under heat, osmotic, and oxidative stress conditions. SEB-1 also regulates the metabolism of the reserve carbohydrates glycogen and trehalose under heat stress, suggesting an interconnection between metabolism control and this environmental condition. We demonstrated that SEB-1 binds in vivo to the promoters of genes encoding glycogen metabolism enzymes and regulates their expression. A genome-wide transcriptional profile of the Δseb-1 strain under heat stress was determined by RNA-seq, and a broad range of cellular processes was identified that suggests a role for SEB-1 as a protein interconnecting these mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1534/g3.116.028506DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4856084PMC
May 2016

Structure of Importin-α from a Filamentous Fungus in Complex with a Classical Nuclear Localization Signal.

PLoS One 2015 19;10(6):e0128687. Epub 2015 Jun 19.

Departamento de Física e Biofísica, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP, Botucatu, SP, Brazil.

Neurospora crassa is a filamentous fungus that has been extensively studied as a model organism for eukaryotic biology, providing fundamental insights into cellular processes such as cell signaling, growth and differentiation. To advance in the study of this multicellular organism, an understanding of the specific mechanisms for protein transport into the cell nucleus is essential. Importin-α (Imp-α) is the receptor for cargo proteins that contain specific nuclear localization signals (NLSs) that play a key role in the classical nuclear import pathway. Structures of Imp-α from different organisms (yeast, rice, mouse, and human) have been determined, revealing that this receptor possesses a conserved structural scaffold. However, recent studies have demonstrated that the Impα mechanism of action may vary significantly for different organisms or for different isoforms from the same organism. Therefore, structural, functional, and biophysical characterization of different Impα proteins is necessary to understand the selectivity of nuclear transport. Here, we determined the first crystal structure of an Impα from a filamentous fungus which is also the highest resolution Impα structure already solved to date (1.75 Å). In addition, we performed calorimetric analysis to determine the affinity and thermodynamic parameters of the interaction between Imp-α and the classical SV40 NLS peptide. The comparison of these data with previous studies on Impα proteins led us to demonstrate that N. crassa Imp-α possess specific features that are distinct from mammalian Imp-α but exhibit important similarities to rice Imp-α, particularly at the minor NLS binding site.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0128687PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4474859PMC
April 2016

Regulation of glycogen metabolism by the CRE-1, RCO-1 and RCM-1 proteins in Neurospora crassa. The role of CRE-1 as the central transcriptional regulator.

Fungal Genet Biol 2015 Apr 16;77:82-94. Epub 2015 Apr 16.

Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP, 14800-060 Araraquara, SP, Brazil. Electronic address:

The transcription factor CreA/Mig1/CRE-1 is a repressor protein that regulates the use of alternative carbon sources via a mechanism known as Carbon Catabolite Repression (CCR). In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Mig1 recruits the complex Ssn6-Tup1, the Neurospora crassa RCM-1 and RCO-1 orthologous proteins, respectively, to bind to promoters of glucose-repressible genes. We have been studying the regulation of glycogen metabolism in N. crassa and the identification of the RCO-1 corepressor as a regulator led us to investigate the regulatory role of CRE-1 in this process. Glycogen content is misregulated in the rco-1(KO), rcm-1(RIP) and cre-1(KO) strains, and the glycogen synthase phosphorylation is decreased in all strains, showing that CRE-1, RCO-1 and RCM-1 proteins are involved in glycogen accumulation and in the regulation of GSN activity by phosphorylation. We also confirmed the regulatory role of CRE-1 in CCR and its nuclear localization under repressing condition in N. crassa. The expression of all glycogenic genes is misregulated in the cre-1(KO) strain, suggesting that CRE-1 also controls glycogen metabolism by regulating gene expression. The existence of a high number of the Aspergillus nidulans CreA motif (5'-SYGGRG-3') in the glycogenic gene promoters led us to analyze the binding of CRE-1 to some DNA motifs both in vitro by DNA gel shift and in vivo by ChIP-qPCR analysis. CRE-1 bound in vivo to all motifs analyzed demonstrating that it down-regulates glycogen metabolism by controlling gene expression and GSN phosphorylation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fgb.2015.03.011DOI Listing
April 2015

A protein kinase screen of Neurospora crassa mutant strains reveals that the SNF1 protein kinase promotes glycogen synthase phosphorylation.

Biochem J 2014 Dec;464(3):323-34

*Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), 14800-900, Araraquara, SP, Brazil.

Glycogen functions as a carbohydrate reserve in a variety of organisms and its metabolism is highly regulated. The activities of glycogen synthase and glycogen phosphorylase, the rate-limiting enzymes of the synthesis and degradation processes, respectively, are regulated by allosteric modulation and reversible phosphorylation. To identify the protein kinases affecting glycogen metabolism in Neurospora crassa, we performed a screen of 84 serine/threonine kinase knockout strains. We identified multiple kinases that have already been described as controlling glycogen metabolism in different organisms, such as NcSNF1, NcPHO85, NcGSK3, NcPKA, PSK2 homologue and NcATG1. In addition, many hypothetical kinases have been implicated in the control of glycogen metabolism. Two kinases, NcIME-2 and NcNIMA, already functionally characterized but with no functions related to glycogen metabolism regulation, were also identified. Among the kinases identified, it is important to mention the role of NcSNF1. We showed in the present study that this kinase was implicated in glycogen synthase phosphorylation, as demonstrated by the higher levels of glycogen accumulated during growth, along with a higher glycogen synthase (GSN) ±glucose 6-phosphate activity ratio and a lesser set of phosphorylated GSN isoforms in strain Ncsnf1KO, when compared with the wild-type strain. The results led us to conclude that, in N. crassa, this kinase promotes phosphorylation of glycogen synthase either directly or indirectly, which is the opposite of what is described for Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The kinases also play a role in gene expression regulation, in that gdn, the gene encoding the debranching enzyme, was down-regulated by the proteins identified in the screen. Some kinases affected growth and development, suggesting a connection linking glycogen metabolism with cell growth and development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BJ20140942DOI Listing
December 2014

Crystallization and preliminary X-ray crystallographic analysis of importin-α from Neurospora crassa.

Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun 2014 Apr 25;70(Pt 4):501-4. Epub 2014 Mar 25.

Departamento de Física e Biofísica, Instituto de Biociências, UNESP - Universidade Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, SP, Brazil.

Importin-α recognizes cargo proteins that contain classical nuclear localization sequences (NLS) and, in complex with importin-β, is able to translocate nuclear proteins through the nuclear pore complex. The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa is a well studied organism that has been widely used as a model organism for fundamental aspects of eukaryotic biology, and is important for understanding the specific mechanisms of protein transport to the cell nucleus. In this work, the crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of importin-α from N. crassa (IMPα-Nc) complexed with a classical NLS peptide (SV40 NLS) are reported. IMPα-Nc-SV40 NLS crystals diffracted X-rays to 2.0 Å resolution and the structure was solved by molecular-replacement techniques, leading to a monomeric structure. The observation of the electron-density map indicated the presence of SV40 NLSs interacting at both the minor and major NLS-binding sites of the protein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1107/S2053230X14005068DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3976073PMC
April 2014

Ambient pH controls glycogen levels by regulating glycogen synthase gene expression in Neurospora crassa. New insights into the pH signaling pathway.

PLoS One 2012 31;7(8):e44258. Epub 2012 Aug 31.

Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, Instituto de Química, Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP, Araraquara, São Paulo, Brazil.

Glycogen is a polysaccharide widely distributed in microorganisms and animal cells and its metabolism is under intricate regulation. Its accumulation in a specific situation results from the balance between glycogen synthase and glycogen phosphorylase activities that control synthesis and degradation, respectively. These enzymes are highly regulated at transcriptional and post-translational levels. The existence of a DNA motif for the Aspergillus nidulans pH responsive transcription factor PacC in the promoter of the gene encoding glycogen synthase (gsn) in Neurospora crassa prompted us to investigate whether this transcription factor regulates glycogen accumulation. Transcription factors such as PacC in A. nidulans and Rim101p in Saccharomyces cerevisiae play a role in the signaling pathway that mediates adaptation to ambient pH by inducing the expression of alkaline genes and repressing acidic genes. We showed here that at pH 7.8 pacC was over-expressed and gsn was down-regulated in wild-type N. crassa coinciding with low glycogen accumulation. In the pacC(KO) strain the glycogen levels and gsn expression at alkaline pH were, respectively, similar to and higher than the wild-type strain at normal pH (5.8). These results characterize gsn as an acidic gene and suggest a regulatory role for PACC in gsn expression. The truncated recombinant protein, containing the DNA-binding domain specifically bound to a gsn DNA fragment containing the PacC motif. DNA-protein complexes were observed with extracts from cells grown at normal and alkaline pH and confirmed by ChIP-PCR analysis. The PACC present in these extracts showed equal molecular mass, indicating that the protein is already processed at normal pH, in contrast to A. nidulans. Together, these results show that the pH signaling pathway controls glycogen accumulation by regulating gsn expression and suggest the existence of a different mechanism for PACC activation in N. crassa.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0044258PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3432076PMC
February 2013

Biophysical characterization of the recombinant importin-α from Neurospora crassa.

Protein Pept Lett 2013 Jan;20(1):8-16

Departamento de Bioquimica e Tecnologia Quimica, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Botucatu, SP, Brazil.

Neurospora crassa has been widely used as a model organism and contributed to the development of biochemistry and molecular biology by allowing the identification of many metabolic pathways and mechanisms responsible for gene regulation. Nuclear proteins are synthesized in the cytoplasm and need to be translocated to the nucleus to exert their functions which the importin-α receptor has a key role for the classical nuclear import pathway. In an attempt to get structural information of the nuclear transport process in N. crassa, we present herein the cloning, expression, purification and structural studies with N-terminally truncated IMPα from N. crassa (IMPα-Nc). Circular dichroism analysis revealed that the IMPα-Nc obtained is correctly folded and presents a high structural conservation compared to other importins-α. Dynamic light scattering, analytical size-exclusion chromatography experiments and molecular dynamics simulations indicated that the IMPα-Nc unbound to any ligand may present low stability in solution. The IMPα-Nc theoretical model displayed high similarity of its inner concave surface, which binds the cargo proteins containing the nuclear localization sequences, among IMPα from different species. However, the presence of non-conserved amino acids relatively close to the NLS binding region may influence the binding specificity of IMPα-Nc to cargo proteins.
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January 2013

Functional characterization of an Aspergillus fumigatus calcium transporter (PmcA) that is essential for fungal infection.

PLoS One 2012 23;7(5):e37591. Epub 2012 May 23.

Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

Aspergillus fumigatus is a primary and opportunistic pathogen, as well as a major allergen, of mammals. The Ca(+2)-calcineurin pathway affects virulence, morphogenesis and antifungal drug action in A. fumigatus. Here, we investigated three components of the A. fumigatus Ca(+2)-calcineurin pathway, pmcA,-B, and -C, which encode calcium transporters. We demonstrated that CrzA can directly control the mRNA accumulation of the pmcA-C genes by binding to their promoter regions. CrzA-binding experiments suggested that the 5'-CACAGCCAC-3' and 5'-CCCTGCCCC-3' sequences upstream of pmcA and pmcC genes, respectively, are possible calcineurin-dependent response elements (CDREs)-like consensus motifs. Null mutants were constructed for pmcA and -B and a conditional mutant for pmcC demonstrating pmcC is an essential gene. The ΔpmcA and ΔpmcB mutants were more sensitive to calcium and resistant to manganese and cyclosporin was able to modulate the sensitivity or resistance of these mutants to these salts, supporting the interaction between calcineurin and the function of these transporters. The pmcA-C genes have decreased mRNA abundance into the alveoli in the ΔcalA and ΔcrzA mutant strains. However, only the A. fumigatus ΔpmcA was avirulent in the murine model of invasive pulmonary aspergillosis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0037591PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3359301PMC
October 2012

A genome-wide screen for Neurospora crassa transcription factors regulating glycogen metabolism.

Mol Cell Proteomics 2011 Nov 18;10(11):M111.007963. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

Instituto de Química, UNESP, Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, 14800-900, Araraquara, SP, Brazil.

Transcription factors play a key role in transcription regulation as they recognize and directly bind to defined sites in promoter regions of target genes, and thus modulate differential expression. The overall process is extremely dynamic, as they have to move through the nucleus and transiently bind to chromatin in order to regulate gene transcription. To identify transcription factors that affect glycogen accumulation in Neurospora crassa, we performed a systematic screen of a deletion strains set generated by the Neurospora Knockout Project and available at the Fungal Genetics Stock Center. In a wild-type strain of N. crassa, glycogen content reaches a maximal level at the end of the exponential growth phase, but upon heat stress the glycogen content rapidly drops. The gene encoding glycogen synthase (gsn) is transcriptionally down-regulated when the mycelium is exposed to the same stress condition. We identified 17 deleted strains having glycogen accumulation profiles different from that of the wild-type strain under both normal growth and heat stress conditions. Most of the transcription factors identified were annotated as hypothetical protein, however some of them, such as the PacC, XlnR, and NIT2 proteins, were biochemically well-characterized either in N. crassa or in other fungi. The identification of some of the transcription factors was coincident with the presence of DNA-binding motifs specific for the transcription factors in the gsn 5'-flanking region, and some of these DNA-binding motifs were demonstrated to be functional by Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (EMSA) experiments. Strains knocked-out in these transcription factors presented impairment in the regulation of gsn expression, suggesting that the transcription factors regulate glycogen accumulation by directly regulating gsn gene expression. Five selected mutant strains showed defects in cell cycle progression, and two transcription factors were light-regulated. The results indicate that there are connections linking different cellular processes, such as metabolism control, biological clock, and cell cycle progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/mcp.M111.007963DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3226398PMC
November 2011

Production of recombinant EMA-1 protein and its application for the diagnosis of Theileria equi using an enzyme immunoassay in horses from São Paulo State, Brazil.

Rev Bras Parasitol Vet 2011 Jan-Mar;20(1):54-60

Departamento de Medicina e Cirurgia Veterinaria, Instituto de Veterinaria, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The erythrocytic-stage surface protein, Equi Merozoite Antigen 1 (EMA-1), is a major candidate for the development of a diagnostic antigen for equine piroplasmosis. In order to establish an effective diagnostic method for practical use, the gene encoding the entire EMA-1 of Theileria equi Jaboticabal strain was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli as a histidine-tagged protein (His6-EMA1). The expressed EMA-1 reacted with specific antibodies in Western blot and had an apparent molecular mass of 34 kDa which was largely consistent with its theoretical value. The nucleotide sequence of the EMA-1 gene of Jaboticabal strain was comparatively analyzed with other published sequences. The results indicated a high degree of homology with EMA-1 genes of all other strains isolated from various countries. The recombinant purified His6-EMA1 protein was tested in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for the detection of antibodies anti-T. equi in horses. The ELISA clearly differentiated T. equi-infected from Babesia caballi-infected horse sera or normal horse sera. Field serum samples collected from horses in the State of São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil, were examined for the diagnosis of T. equi infection by ELISA. Of 170 samples analyzed, 95.88% (163/170) were positive for T. equi infection. These results suggest that the His6-EMA1 protein expressed in E. coli could be a reliable immunodiagnostic antigen for ELISA test and that T. equi infection is a serious concern in the State of São Paulo, Brazil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/s1984-29612011000100011DOI Listing
August 2011

Crystal structures of Xanthomonas small heat shock protein provide a structural basis for an active molecular chaperone oligomer.

J Mol Biol 2011 Apr 15;408(1):74-86. Epub 2011 Feb 15.

Department of Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside, 2482B Boyce Hall, Riverside, CA 92521-0123, USA.

Small heat shock proteins (sHsps) are ubiquitous low-molecular-weight chaperones that prevent protein aggregation under cellular stresses. sHsps contain a structurally conserved α-crystallin domain (ACD) of about 100 amino acid residues flanked by varied N- and C-terminal extensions and usually exist as oligomers. Oligomerization is important for the biological functions of most sHsps. However, the active oligomeric states of sHsps are not defined yet. We present here crystal structures (up to 1.65 Å resolution) of the sHspA from the plant pathogen Xanthomonas (XaHspA). XaHspA forms closed or open trimers of dimers (hexamers) in crystals but exists predominantly as 36mers in solution as estimated by size-exclusion chromatography. The XaHspA monomer structures mainly consist of α-crystallin domain with disordered N- and C-terminal extensions, indicating that the extensions are flexible and not essential for the formation of dimers and 36mers. Under reducing conditions where α-lactalbumin (LA) unfolds and aggregates, XaHspA 36mers formed complexes with one LA per XaHspA dimer. Based on XaHspA dimer-dimer interactions observed in crystals, we propose that XaHspA 36mers have four possible conformations, but only XaHspA 36merB, which is formed by open hexamers in 12mer-6mer-6mer-12mer with protruding dimers accessible for substrate (unfolding protein) binding, can bind to 18 reduced LA molecules. Together, our results unravel the structural basis of an active sHsp oligomer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2011.02.004DOI Listing
April 2011

cAMP signaling pathway controls glycogen metabolism in Neurospora crassa by regulating the glycogen synthase gene expression and phosphorylation.

Fungal Genet Biol 2010 Jan;47(1):43-52

Instituto de Química, UNESP, Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, 14800-900 Araraquara, SP, Brazil.

The cAMP-PKA signaling pathway plays an important role in many biological processes including glycogen metabolism. In this work we investigated its role in the Neurospora crassa glycogen metabolism control using mutant strains affected in components of the pathway, the cr-1 strain deficient in adenylyl cyclase activity therefore has the PKA pathway not active, and the mcb strain a temperature-sensitive mutant defective in the regulatory subunit of PKA therefore is a strain with constitutively active PKA. We analyzed the expression of the gene encoding glycogen synthase (gsn), the regulatory enzyme in glycogen synthesis as a potential target of the regulation. The cr-1 strain accumulated, during vegetative growth, glycogen levels much higher than the wild type strain indicating a role of the PKA pathway in the glycogen accumulation. The gsn transcript was not increased in this strain but the GSN protein was less phosphorylated "in vitro", and therefore more active, suggesting that the post-translational modification of GSN is likely the main mechanism controlling glycogen accumulation during vegetative growth. Heat shock down-regulates gsn gene transcription in the two mutant strains, as well as in the wild type strain, suggesting that the PKA pathway may not be the only pathway having a direct role in gsn transcription under heat shock. DNA-protein complexes were formed between the STRE motif in the gsn promoter and nuclear proteins from heat-shocked mycelium. However STRE was not able to induce transcription of a reporter gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, suggesting that the motif might be involved in a different way of regulation in the N. crassa gene expression under heat shock. The CRE-like DNA elements present in the gsn promoter were shown to be bound by different proteins from the PKA mutant strains. The DNA-protein complexes were observed with proteins from the strains grown under normal condition and under heat shock indicating the functionality of this DNA element. In this work we presented some evidences that the PKA signaling pathway regulates glycogen metabolism in N. crassa in a different way when compared to the well-characterized model of regulation existent in S. cerevisiae.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fgb.2009.10.011DOI Listing
January 2010

A systematic approach to identify STRE-binding proteins of the gsn glycogen synthase gene promoter in Neurospora crassa.

Proteomics 2008 May;8(10):2052-61

Departamento de Bioquímica e Tecnologia Química, Instituto de Química, UNESP, Araraquara, SP, Brazil.

The gene encoding glycogen synthase in Neurospora crassa (gsn) is transcriptionally down-regulated when mycelium is exposed to a heat shock from 30 to 45 degrees C. The gsn promoter has one stress response element (STRE) motif that is specifically bound by heat shock activated nuclear proteins. In this work, we used biochemical approaches together with mass spectrometric analysis to identify the proteins that bind to the STRE motif and could participate in the gsn transcription regulation during heat shock. Crude nuclear extract of heat-shocked mycelium was prepared and fractionated by affinity chromatography. The fractions exhibiting DNA-binding activity were identified by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) using as probe a DNA fragment containing the STRE motif. DNA-protein binding activity was confirmed by Southwestern analysis. The molecular mass (MM) of proteins was estimated by fractionating the crude nuclear extract by SDS-PAGE followed by EMSA analysis of the proteins corresponding to different MM intervals. Binding activity was detected at the 30-50 MM kDa interval. Fractionation of the crude nuclear proteins by IEF followed by EMSA analysis led to the identification of two active fractions belonging to the pIs intervals 3.54-4.08 and 6.77-7.31. The proteins comprising the MM and pI intervals previously identified were excised from a 2-DE gel, and subjected to mass spectrometric analysis (MALDI-TOF/TOF) after tryptic digestion. The proteins were identified by search against the MIPS and MIT N. crassa databases and five promising candidates were identified. Their structural characteristics and putative roles in the gsn transcription regulation are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.200700921DOI Listing
May 2008

Regulation of xylanase in Aspergillus phoenicis: a physiological and molecular approach.

J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 2008 Apr 29;35(4):237-44. Epub 2008 Jan 29.

Departamento de Biologia da Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes, 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP 14040-901, Brazil.

Microbial xylanolytic enzymes have a promising biotechnological potential, and are extensively applied in industries. In this study, induction of xylanolytic activity was examined in Aspergillus phoenicis. Xylanase activity induced by xylan, xylose or beta-methylxyloside was predominantly extracellular (93-97%). Addition of 1% glucose to media supplemented with xylan or xylose repressed xylanase production. Glucose repression was alleviated by addition of cAMP or dibutyryl-cAMP. These physiological observations were supported by a Northern analysis using part of the xylanase gene ApXLN as a probe. Gene transcription was shown to be induced by xylan, xylose, and beta-methylxyloside, and was repressed by the addition of 1% glucose. Glucose repression was partially relieved by addition of cAMP or dibutyryl cAMP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10295-007-0290-9DOI Listing
April 2008
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