Identification and manipulation of Neurospora crassa genes involved in sensitivity to furfural
, 210. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Biofuels derived from lignocellulosic biomass are a viable alternative to fossil fuels required for transportation. Following plant biomass pretreatment, the furan derivative furfural is present at concentrations which are inhibitory to yeasts. Detoxification of furfural is thus important for efficient fermentation. Here, we searched for new genetic attributes in the fungus Neurospora crassa that may be linked to furfural tolerance. The fact that furfural is involved in the natural process of sexual spore germination of N. crassa and that this fungus is highly amenable to genetic manipulations makes it a rational candidate for this study.
Manipulating the Expression of Small Secreted Protein 1 (Ssp1) Alters Patterns of Development and Metabolism in the White-Rot Fungus Pleurotus ostreatus
. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2019
. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The function of small secreted proteins (SSPs) in saprotrophic fungi is, for the most part, unknown. The white-rot mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus produces considerable amounts of SSPs at the onset of secondary metabolism, during colony development, and in response to chemical compounds such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and aryl alcohols. Genetic manipulation of Ssp1, by knockdown (KDssp1) or overexpression (OEssp1), indicated that they are, in fact, involved in the regulation of the ligninolytic system. To elucidate their potential involvement in fungal development, quantitative secretome analysis was performed during the trophophase and the idiophase and at a transition point between the two growth phases. The mutations conferred a time shift in the secretion and expression patterns: OEssp1 preceded the entrance to idiophase and secondary metabolism, while KDssp1 was delayed. This was also correlated with expression patterns of selected genes. The KDssp1 colony aged at a slower pace, accompanied by a slower decline in biomass over time. In contrast, the OEssp1 strain exhibited severe lysis and aging of the colony at the same time point. These phenomena were accompanied by variations in yellow pigment production, characteristic of entrance of the wild type into idiophase. The pigment was produced earlier and in a larger amount in the OEssp1 strain and was absent from the KDssp1 strain. Furthermore, the dikaryon harboring OEssp1 exhibited a delay in the initiation of fruiting body formation as well as earlier aging. We propose that Ssp1 might function as a part of the fungal communication network and regulate the pattern of fungal development and metabolism in P. ostreatus.IMPORTANCE Small secreted proteins (SSPs) are common in fungal saprotrophs, but their roles remain elusive. As such, they comprise part of a gene pool which may be involved in governing fungal lifestyles not limited to symbiosis and pathogenicity, in which they are commonly referred to as “effectors.” We propose that Ssp1 in the white-rot fungus Pleurotus ostreatus regulates the transition from primary to secondary metabolism, development, aging, and fruiting body initiation. Our observations uncover a novel regulatory role of effector-like SSPs in a saprotroph, suggesting that they may act in fungal communication as well as in response to environmental cues. The presence of Ssp1 homologues in other fungal species supports a common potential role in environmental sensing and fungal development.
Directed evolution of clostridium thermocellum β-glucosidase a towards enhanced thermostability
. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2019
. Publisher's VersionAbstract
β-Glucosidases are key enzymes in the process of cellulose utilization. It is the last enzyme in the cellulose hydrolysis chain, which converts cellobiose to glucose. Since cellobiose is known to have a feedback inhibitory effect on a variety of cellulases, β-glucosidase can prevent this inhibition by hydrolyzing cellobiose to non-inhibitory glucose. While the optimal temperature of the Clostridium thermocellum cellulosome is 70 °C, C. thermocellum β-glucosidase A is almost inactive at such high temperatures. Thus, in the current study, a random mutagenesis directed evolutionary approach was conducted to produce a thermostable mutant with Kcat and Km, similar to those of the wild-type enzyme. The resultant mutant contained two mutations, A17S and K268N, but only the former was found to affect thermostability, whereby the inflection temperature (Ti) was increased by 6.4 °C. A17 is located near the central cavity of the native enzyme. Interestingly, multiple alignments revealed that position 17 is relatively conserved, whereby alanine is replaced only by serine. Upon the addition of the thermostable mutant to the C. thermocellum secretome for subsequent hydrolysis of microcrystalline cellulose at 70 °C, a higher soluble glucose yield (243%) was obtained compared to the activity of the secretome supplemented with the wild-type enzyme. © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Host specificity and spatial distribution preference of three Pseudomonas isolates
. Frontiers in Microbiology 2019
. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Plant hosts recruit and maintain a distinct root-associated microbiota based on host and bacterium traits. However, past studies disregarded microbial strain-host specificity and spatial micro-heterogeneity of the root compartment. Using genetic manipulation, confocal laser scanning microscopy, real-time quantitative PCR, and genome sequencing we characterized the colonization patterns of three Pseudomonas spp. isolates native to wheat roots, on the micro-scale. Namely, isolates P. fluorescens NT0133, P. stutzeri NT124, and P. stutzeri NT128. All three isolates preferentially colonized wheat over cucumber roots that served as control for host specificity. Furthermore, not only had the isolates strong host specificity but each isolate had a distinct spatial distribution on the root, all within a few millimeters. Isolate P. stutzeri-NT0124 preferentially colonized root tips, whereas P. fluorescens-NT0133 showed a preference for zones distant from the tip. In contrast, isolate P. stutzeri-NT0128 had no preference for a specific niche on the root. While all isolates maintained genetic potential for motility and biofilm formation their phenotype varied significantly and corresponded to their niche preference. These results demonstrate the importance of spatial colonization patterns, governed by both niche and bacterial characteristics which will have great importance in future attempts to manipulate the plant microbiome by constructing synthetic microbial consortia. © 2019 Frontiers Media S.A. All Rights Reserved.
Immunomodulating effects exerted by glucans extracted from the king oyster culinary-medicinal mushroom pleurotus eryngii (agaricomycetes) grown in substrates containing various concentrations of olive mill waste
. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 2019
, 765-781. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We have recently demonstrated that we could enhance glucan content in Pleurotus eryngii following cultivation of the mushrooms on a substrate containing different concentrations of olive mill solid waste (OMSW). These changes are directly related to the content of OMSW in the growing substrate. Using dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) mice model, we measured the colonic inflammatory response to the different glucan preparations. We found that the histology damaging score (HDS) resulting from DSS treatment reach a value of 11.8 ± 2.3 were efficiently downregulated by treatment with the fungal extracted glucans. Glucans extracted from stalks cultivated at 20% OMSW downregulated to a HDS value of 6.4 ± 0.5 whereas those cultivated at 80% OMSW showed the strongest effects (5.5 ± 0.6). Similar downregulatory effects were obtained for expression of various intestinal cytokines. All tested glucans were equally effective in regulating the number of CD14/CD16 monocytes from 18.2 ± 2.7% for DSS to 6.4 ± 2.0 for DSS + glucans extracted from stalks cultivated at 50% OMSW. We tested the effect of glucans on lipopolysaccharide- induced production of TNF-α, which demonstrated that stalk-derived glucans were more effective than caps-derived glucans. Isolated glucans competed with anti-Dectin-1 and anti-CR3 antibodies, indicating that they contain β-glucans recognized by these receptors. In conclusion, the most effective glucans in ameliorating IBD-associated symptoms induced by DSS treatment in mice were glucan extracts prepared from the stalk of P. eryngii grown at higher concentrations of OMSW. We conclude that these stress-induced growing conditions may be helpful in selecting more effective glucans derived from edible mushrooms. © 2019 by Begell House, Inc.
Identification and manipulation of Neurospora crassa genes involved in sensitivity to furfural
. Biotechnology for Biofuels 2019
. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Background: Biofuels derived from lignocellulosic biomass are a viable alternative to fossil fuels required for transportation. Following plant biomass pretreatment, the furan derivative furfural is present at concentrations which are inhibitory to yeasts. Detoxification of furfural is thus important for efficient fermentation. Here, we searched for new genetic attributes in the fungus Neurospora crassa that may be linked to furfural tolerance. The fact that furfural is involved in the natural process of sexual spore germination of N. crassa and that this fungus is highly amenable to genetic manipulations makes it a rational candidate for this study. Results: Both hypothesis-based and unbiased (random promotor mutagenesis) approaches were performed to identify N. crassa genes associated with the response to furfural. Changes in the transcriptional profile following exposure to furfural revealed that the affected processes were, overall, similar to those observed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. N. crassa was more tolerant (by ∼ 30%) to furfural when carboxymethyl cellulose was the main carbon source as opposed to sucrose, indicative of a link between carbohydrate metabolism and furfural tolerance. We also observed increased tolerance in a Δcre-1 mutant (CRE-1 is a key transcription factor that regulates the ability of fungi to utilize non-preferred carbon sources). In addition, analysis of aldehyde dehydrogenase mutants showed that ahd-2 (NCU00378) was involved in tolerance to furfural as well as the predicted membrane transporter NCU05580 (flr-1), a homolog of FLR1 in S. cerevisiae. Further to the rational screening, an unbiased approach revealed additional genes whose inactivation conferred increased tolerance to furfural: (i) NCU02488, which affected the abundance of the non-anchored cell wall protein NCW-1 (NCU05137), and (ii) the zinc finger protein NCU01407. Conclusions: We identified attributes in N. crassa associated with tolerance or degradation of furfural, using complementary research approaches. The manipulation of the genes involved in furan sensitivity can provide a means for improving the production of biofuel producing strains. Similar research approaches can be utilized in N. crassa and other filamentous fungi to identify additional attributes relevant to other furans or toxic chemicals. © 2019 The Author(s).
Transformation of lamotrigine by white-rot fungus Pleurotus ostreatus
. Environmental Pollution 2019
, 546 - 553. Publisher's VersionAbstract
One of the most persistent pharmaceutical compounds commonly found in treated wastewater is lamotrigine (LTG). It has also been detected in soils and crops irrigated with treated wastewater. Here we focused on the ability of the white-rot edible mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus to remove and transform LTG in liquid cultures. At concentrations of environmental relevance (1 and 10 μg L−1) LTG was almost completely removed from the culture medium within 20 days. To elucidate the mechanism of LTG removal and transformation, we applied a physiological-based approach using inhibitors and a competing agent. These experiments were conducted at a higher concentration for metabolites detection. Based on identification of sulfur-containing metabolites and LTG N2-oxide and the effect of specific inhibitors, cytochrome P450 oxidation is suggested as one of the reaction mechanisms leading to LTG transformation. The variety and number of transformation products (i.e., conjugates) found in the current study were larger than reported in mammals. Moreover, known conjugates with glucuronide, glutathione, or cysteine/glycine, were not found in our system. Since the majority of the identified transformation products were conjugates of LTG, this study highlights the persistence of LTG as an organic pollutant in ecosystems exposed to wastewater.
Altering N2O emissions by manipulating wheat root bacterial community
. Scientific Reports 2019
7613. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a greenhouse gas and a potent ozone-depleting substance in the stratosphere. Agricultural soils are one of the main global sources of N2O emissions, particularly from cereal fields due to their high areal coverage. The aim of this study was to isolate N2O-reducing bacteria able to mitigate N2O emissions from the soil after inoculation. We isolated several bacteria from wheat roots that were capable of N2O reduction in vitro and studied their genetic potential and activity under different environmental conditions. Three of these isolates- all carrying the nitrous oxide reductase-encoding clade I nosZ, able to reduce N2O in vitro, and efficient colonizers of wheat roots- presented different N2O-reduction strategies when growing in the root zone, possibly due to the different conditions in situ and their metabolic preferences. Each isolate seemed to prefer to operate at different altered oxygen levels. Isolate AU243 (related to Agrobacterium/Rhizobium) could reduce both nitrate and N2O and operated better at lower oxygen levels. Isolate AU14 (related to Alcaligenes faecalis), lacking nitrate reductases, operated better under less anoxic conditions. Isolate NT128 (related to Pseudomonas stutzeri) caused slightly increased N2O emissions under both anoxic and ambient conditions. These results therefore emphasize the importance of a deep understanding of soil–plant–microbe interactions when environmental application is being considered.
Root microbiome response to treated wastewater irrigation
. Science of The Total Environment 2019
, 899 - 907. Publisher's VersionAbstract
With increasing fresh water (FW) scarcity, the use of treated wastewater (TWW) for crop irrigation is expanding globally. Besides clear benefits, some undesired long-term effects of irrigation with this low quality water on plant performance have been reported. As the rhizosphere microbiome can mediate plant-soil interactions, an examination of the response of these organisms to TWW is necessary to understand the full effects of water quality. In the current study, the effects of irrigation water quality on the microbial community structure of soil and roots as well as edaphic properties and plant performance were evaluated. We compared soil and roots microbiomes of two different plant species (tomato and lettuce), each grown in two distinct soils, and irrigated with either FW or TWW. Irrigation with TWW significantly increase soil pH, EC, K, Na and DOC, and decrease plant fruit and shoot weight, relatively to samples irrigated with FW. We calculated the effect size of plant species, soil type, and irrigation water quality on microbial community structure in soil and root. In the roots, plant species and irrigation water were the dominant factors in shaping both total (DNA based) and active (RNA based) microbial communities, with both factors contributing similarly to the observed microbial population. Soil type and irrigation water were the dominant factors shaping the total microbial community in the soil and were of similar magnitude. Irrigation water quality is demonstrated to be a major force in shaping root-associated microbiome, leading to altered microbial community structure in the critical juncture between plant and soil.
Immune-modulating activities of glucans extracted from Pleurotus ostreatus and Pleurotus eryngii
. Journal of Functional Foods 2019
, 81 - 91. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We compared the immune-modulating activity of glucans extracted from P. ostreatus and P. eryngii on phagocytosis of peripheral blood neutrophils, and superoxide release from HL-60 cells. The results suggest that the anti-inflammatory properties of these glucans are partially mediated through modulation of neutrophil effector functions (P. eryngii was more effective). Additionally, both glucans dose-dependently competed for the anti-Dectin-1 and anti-CR3 antibody binding. We then tested the putative anti-inflammatory effects of the extracted glucans in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) using the dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)–induced model in mice. The clinical symptoms of IBD were efficiently relieved by the treatment with two different doses of the glucan from both fungi. Glucan fractions, from either P. ostreatus or P. eryngii, markedly prevented TNF-α mediated inflammation in the DSS–induced inflamed intestine. These results suggest that there are variations in glucan preparations from different fungi in their anti-inflammatory ability.
Effects of cre1 modification in the white-rot fungus Pleurotus ostreatus PC9: altering substrate preference during biological pretreatment
, 212. Publisher's VersionAbstract
During the process of bioethanol production, cellulose is hydrolyzed into its monomeric soluble units. For efficient hydrolysis, a chemical and/or mechanical pretreatment step is required. Such pretreatment is designed to increase enzymatic digestibility of the cellulose chains inter alia by de-crystallization of the cellulose chains and by removing barriers, such as lignin from the plant cell wall. Biological pretreatment, in which lignin is decomposed or modified by white-rot fungi, has also been considered. One disadvantage in biological pretreatment, however, is the consumption of the cellulose by the fungus. Thus, fungal species that attack lignin with only minimal cellulose loss are advantageous. The secretomes of white-rot fungi contain carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes) including lignin-modifying enzymes. Thus, modification of secretome composition can alter the ratio of lignin/cellulose degradation.
Spatial Distribution of Glucan Type and Content between Caps and Stalks in Pleurotus eryngii: Impact on the Anti-inflammatory Functionality
. International journal of molecular sciences 2018
, 3371. Publisher's VersionAbstract
: Pleurotus eryngii is recognized for its prominent nutritional and medicinal value. In our study, we tested the effect of glucans on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced production of TNF-α. We demonstrated that glucan extracts are more effective than mill mushroom preparations. Additionally, the effectiveness of stalk-derived glucans were slightly more pronounced than of caps. Cap and stalk glucans from mill or isolated glucan competed dose-dependently with anti-Dectin-and anti-CR-3 antibodies, indicating that they contain β-glucans recognized by these receptors. Using the dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-inflammatory bowel disease mice model, intestinal inflammatory response to the mill preparations was measured and compared to extracted glucan fractions from caps and stalks. We found that mill and glucan extracts were very effective in downregulating IFN-γ and MIP-2 levels and that stalk-derived preparations were more effective than from caps. The tested glucans were equally effective in regulating the number of CD14/CD16 monocytes and upregulating the levels of fecal-released IgA to almost normal levels. In conclusion, the most effective glucans in ameliorating some IBD-inflammatory associated symptoms induced by DSS treatment in mice were glucan extracts prepared from the stalk of P. eryngii. These spatial distinctions may be helpful in selecting more effective specific anti-inflammatory mushrooms-derived glucans.
Effect of Compost Properties on Progress Rate of Verticillium dahliae Attack on Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.)
. Compost Science & Utilization 2018
, 71 - 78. Publisher's VersionAbstract
ABSTRACTSeveral composts were tested for their capacity to moderate the effect of Verticillium dahliae Kleb. (VCG B4, VD) on eggplant (Solanum melongena) under greenhouse conditions. Eggplants plantlets were inoculated by immersing their roots in conidial suspension and then planted in pots filled with mixtures of compost or peat moss, mixed with perlite. Six composts and peat moss mixtures were tested, of which tomato waste compost suppressed V. dahliae, and turkey litter compost partially suppressed it. Reduced levels of symptoms and lower fungal colonization were detected in the xylem of eggplants planted in tomato waste compost, and these plants accumulated more dry matter and had higher chlorophyll content compared to other media. However, survival of conidia in tomato waste compost showed only a moderate decrease compared with a sharp decrease in other media, suggesting that conidial eradication cannot be proposed as the suppressiveness mechanism. ? irradiation of tomato waste compost and peat at 2.5 Mrad reduced microorganism density by four orders of magnitude, but irradiation of tomato waste compost did not reduce its suppressiveness of V. dahliae. Composts properties affected progress rate of VD in the xylem tissue of eggplant seedling. These properties could indicate both biotic and abiotic factors affecting the process.
Quality of Irrigation Water Affects Soil Functionality and Bacterial Community Stability in Response to Heat Disturbance
. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2018
, e02087-17. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Anthropogenic activities alter the structure and function of a bacterial community. Furthermore, bacterial communities structured by the conditions the anthropogenic activities present may consequently reduce their stability in response to an unpredicted acute disturbance. The present mesocosm-scale study exposed soil bacterial communities to different irrigation water types, including freshwater, fertilized freshwater, treated wastewater, and artificial wastewater, and evaluated their response to a disturbance caused by heat. These effectors may be considered deterministic and stochastic forces common in agricultural operations of arid and semiarid regions. Bacterial communities under conditions of high mineral and organic carbon availability (artificial wastewater) differed from the native bacterial community and showed a proteobacterial dominance. These bacterial communities had a lower resistance to the heat treatment disturbance than soils under conditions of low resource availability (high-quality treated wastewater or freshwater). The latter soil bacterial communities showed a higher abundance of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) classified as Bacilli. These results were elucidated by soil under conditions of high resource availability, which lost higher degrees of functional potential and had a greater bacterial community composition change. However, the functional resilience, after the disturbance ended, was higher under a condition of high resource availability despite the bacterial community composition shift and the decrease in species richness. The functional resilience was directly connected to the high growth rates of certain Bacteroidetes and proteobacterial groups. A high stability was found in samples that supported the coexistence of both resistant OTUs and fast-growing OTUs.IMPORTANCE This report presents the results of a study employing a hypothesis-based experimental approach to reveal the forces involved in determining the stability of a soil bacterial community to disturbance. The resultant postdisturbance bacterial community composition dynamics and functionality were analyzed. The paper demonstrates the relatedness of community structure and stability under cultivation conditions prevalent in an arid area under irrigation with water of different qualities. The use of common agricultural practices to demonstrate these features has not been described before. The combination of a fundamental theoretical issue in ecology with common and concerning disturbances caused by agricultural practice makes this study unique. Furthermore, the results of the present study have applicable importance regarding soil conservation, as it enables a better characterization and monitoring of stressed soil bacterial communities and possible intervention to reduce the stress. It will also be of valued interest in coming years, as fresh water scarcity and the use of alternative water sources are expected to rise globally.
Host Specificity and Spatial Distribution Preference of Three Isolates
. Front Microbiol 2018
Plant hosts recruit and maintain a distinct root-associated microbiota based on host and bacterium traits. However, past studies disregarded microbial strain-host specificity and spatial micro-heterogeneity of the root compartment. Using genetic manipulation, confocal laser scanning microscopy, real-time quantitative PCR, and genome sequencing we characterized the colonization patterns of three spp. isolates native to wheat roots, on the micro-scale. Namely, isolates NT0133, NT124, and NT128. All three isolates preferentially colonized wheat over cucumber roots that served as control for host specificity. Furthermore, not only had the isolates strong host specificity but each isolate had a distinct spatial distribution on the root, all within a few millimeters. Isolate -NT0124 preferentially colonized root tips, whereas NT0133 showed a preference for zones distant from the tip. In contrast, isolate -NT0128 had no preference for a specific niche on the root. While all isolates maintained genetic potential for motility and biofilm formation their phenotype varied significantly and corresponded to their niche preference. These results demonstrate the importance of spatial colonization patterns, governed by both niche and bacterial characteristics which will have great importance in future attempts to manipulate the plant microbiome by constructing synthetic microbial consortia.
Bacterial inactivation by a carbon nanotube–iron oxide nanocomposite: a mechanistic study using E. coli mutants
. Environmental Science: Nano 2018
372 - 380. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Waterborne pathogens are a major health threat and must be eliminated to guarantee safe usage of water for potable purposes. For this purpose, a new carbon-based nanomaterial composed of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) and iron oxides was constructed for bacterial inactivation. Owing to its magnetic properties, the SWCNT–iron oxide nanocomposite may serve as a reusable antimicrobial agent. The nanocomposite material exhibited high antimicrobial activity against Escherichia coli. Successful reuse of the nanocomposite material was achieved by washing with calcium chloride and distilled water, which restored its performance for several successive cycles. To investigate the cytotoxicity mechanisms of the nanocomposite material, we exposed it to single-gene knockout mutant strains of E. coli. Mutants bearing shorter lipopolysaccharide (LPS) layers in the outer membrane (ΔrfaC and ΔrfaG) demonstrated an increased sensitivity in comparison to the wildtype strain, exemplified in enhanced removal by the nanocomposite material. This finding suggests that the LPS acts as a protective shield against the nanocomposite material. Inactivation of mutants impaired in specific oxidative stress defense mechanisms (ΔsodA, ΔkatG and ΔsoxS) emphasized that oxidative stress plays a significant role in the inactivation mechanism of the nanocomposite. This study sheds light on the mechanisms of bacterial inactivation by carbon-based nanomaterials and advances their potential implementation for water disinfection.