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Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology
The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Environment
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Publications

2020
Lifshitz, N. ; Hazanov, L. ; Fine, M. ; Yarden, O. Seasonal Variations in the Culturable Mycobiome of Acropora loripes along a Depth Gradient. Microorganisms 2020, 8. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Coral associated fungi are widespread, highly diverse and are part and parcel of the coral holobiont. To study how environmental conditions prevailing near the coral-host may affect fungal diversity, the culturable (isolated on potato dextrose agar) mycobiome associated with Acropora loripes colonies was seasonally sampled along a depth gradient in the Gulf of Aqaba. Fragments were sampled from both apparently healthy coral colonies as well as those exhibiting observable lesions. Based on phylogenetic analysis of 197 fungal sequences, Ascomycota were the most prevalent (91.9%). The abundance of fungi increased with increasing water depth, where corals sampled at 25 m yielded up to 70% more fungal colony forming units (CFUs) than those isolated at 6 m. Fungal diversity at 25 m was also markedly higher, with over 2-fold more fungal families represented. Diversity was also higher in lesioned coral samples, when compared to apparently healthy colonies. In winter, concurrent with water column mixing and increased levels of available nutrients, at the shallow depths, Saccharomytacea and Sporidiobolacea were more prevalent, while in spring and fall Trichocomacea (overall, the most prevalent family isolated throughout this study) were the most abundant taxa isolated at these depths as well as at deeper sampling sites. Our results highlight the dynamic nature of the culturable coral mycobiome and its sensitivity to environmental conditions and coral health.
Hou, L. W. ; Groenewald, J. Z. ; Pfenning, L. H. ; Yarden, O. ; Crous, P. W. ; Cai, L. The phoma-like dilemma. 2020. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Species of Didymellaceae have a cosmopolitan distribution and are geographically widespread, occurring in diverse ecosystems. The family includes several important plant pathogenic fungi associated with fruit, leaf, stem and root diseases on a wide variety of hosts, as well as endophytic, saprobic and clinically relevant species. The Didymellaceae was recently revised based on morphological and phylogenetic analyses of ex-type strains subjected to DNA sequencing of partial gene data of the LSU, ITS, rpb2 and tub2 loci. Several poly- and paraphyletic genera, including Ascochyta, Didymella and Phoma were redefined, along with the introduction of new genera. In the present study, a global collection of 1 124 Didymellaceae strains from 92 countries, 121 plant families and 55 other substrates, including air, coral, human tissues, house dust, fungi, insects, soil, and water were examined via multi-locus phylogenetic analyses and detailed morphological comparisons, representing the broadest sampling of Didymellaceae to date. Among these, 97 isolates representing seven new genera, 40 new species and 21 new combinations were newly introduced in Didymellaceae. In addition, six epitypes and six neotypes were designated to stabilise the taxonomy and use of older names. A robust, multi-locus reference phylogenetic tree of Didymellaceae was generated. In addition, rpb2 was revealed as the most effective locus for the identification of Didymellaceae at species level, and is proposed as a secondary DNA marker for the family.
Alder-Rangel, A. ; Idnurm, A. ; Brand, A. C. ; Brown, A. J. P. ; Gorbushina, A. ; Kelliher, C. M. ; Campos, C. B. ; Levin, D. E. ; Bell-Pedersen, D. ; Dadachova, E. ; et al. The Third International Symposium on Fungal Stress – ISFUS. Fungal Biology 2020, 124, 235 - 252. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Stress is a normal part of life for fungi, which can survive in environments considered inhospitable or hostile for other organisms. Due to the ability of fungi to respond to, survive in, and transform the environment, even under severe stresses, many researchers are exploring the mechanisms that enable fungi to adapt to stress. The International Symposium on Fungal Stress (ISFUS) brings together leading scientists from around the world who research fungal stress. This article discusses presentations given at the third ISFUS, held in São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil in 2019, thereby summarizing the state-of-the-art knowledge on fungal stress, a field that includes microbiology, agriculture, ecology, biotechnology, medicine, and astrobiology.
Meyer, V. ; Basenko, E. Y. ; Benz, J. P. ; Braus, G. H. ; Caddick, M. X. ; Csukai, M. ; de Vries, R. P. ; Endy, D. ; Frisvad, J. C. ; Gunde-Cimerman, N. ; et al. Growing a circular economy with fungal biotechnology: a white paper. 2020, 7 5. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Fungi have the ability to transform organic materials into a rich and diverse set of useful products and provide distinct opportunities for tackling the urgent challenges before all humans. Fungal biotechnology can advance the transition from our petroleum-based economy into a bio-based circular economy and has the ability to sustainably produce resilient sources of food, feed, chemicals, fuels, textiles, and materials for construction, automotive and transportation industries, for furniture and beyond. Fungal biotechnology offers solutions for securing, stabilizing and enhancing the food supply for a growing human population, while simultaneously lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Fungal biotechnology has, thus, the potential to make a significant contribution to climate change mitigation and meeting the United Nation’s sustainable development goals through the rational improvement of new and established fungal cell factories. The White Paper presented here is the result of the 2nd Think Tank meeting held by the EUROFUNG consortium in Berlin in October 2019. This paper highlights discussions on current opportunities and research challenges in fungal biotechnology and aims to inform scientists, educators, the general public, industrial stakeholders and policymakers about the current fungal biotech revolution.
2019
Feldman, D. ; Kowbel, D. J. ; Cohen, A. ; Glass, N. L. ; Hadar, Y. ; Yarden, O. Identification and manipulation of Neurospora crassa genes involved in sensitivity to furfural. 2019, 12, 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.
Feldman, D. ; Amedi, N. ; Carmeli, S. ; Yarden, O. ; Hadar, Y. 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, 85. 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.
Feldman, D. ; Kowbel, D. J. ; Cohen, A. ; Glass, N. L. ; Hadar, Y. ; Yarden, O. Identification and manipulation of Neurospora crassa genes involved in sensitivity to furfural. Biotechnology for Biofuels 2019, 12. 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).
Herold, I. ; Kowbel, D. ; Delgado-Álvarez, D. L. ; Garduño-Rosales, M. ; Mouriño-Pérez, R. R. ; Yarden, O. Transcriptional profiling and localization of GUL-1, a COT-1 pathway component, in Neurospora crassa. Fungal Genetics and Biology 2019, 126, 1 - 11. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Impairment of theNeurospora crassaCOT-1 kinase results in defects in hyphal polarity. Some of these effects are partially suppressed by inactivation of gul-1 (encoding an mRNA-binding protein involved in translational regulation). Here, we report on the transcriptional profiling of cot-1 inactivation and demonstrate that gul-1 affects transcript abundance of multiple genes in the COT-1 pathway, including processes such as cell wall remodeling, nitrogen and amino acid metabolism. The GUL-1 protein itself was found to be distributed within the entire hyphal cell, along with a clear presence of aggregates that traffic within the cytoplasm. Live imaging of GUL-1-GFP demonstrated that GUL-1 transport is microtubule-dependent. Cellular stress, as imposed by the presence of the cell wall biosynthesis inhibitor Nikkomycin Z or by nitrogen limitation, resulted in a 2–3-fold increase of GUL-1 aggregate association with nuclei. Taken together, this study demonstrates that GUL-1 affects multiple processes, its function is stress-related and linked with cellular traffic and nuclear association.
Amend, A. ; Burgaud, G. ; Cunliffe, M. ; Edgcomb, V. P. ; Ettinger, C. L. ; Gutiérrez, M. H. ; Heitman, J. ; Hom, E. F. Y. ; Ianiri, G. ; Jones, A. C. ; et al. Fungi in the Marine Environment: Open Questions and Unsolved Problems. mBio 2019, 10, e01189-18. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Terrestrial fungi play critical roles in nutrient cycling and food webs and can shape macroorganism communities as parasites and mutualists. Although estimates for the number of fungal species on the planet range from 1.5 to over 5 million, likely fewer than 10% of fungi have been identified so far. To date, a relatively small percentage of described species are associated with marine environments, with ∼1,100 species retrieved exclusively from the marine environment. Nevertheless, fungi have been found in nearly every marine habitat explored, from the surface of the ocean to kilometers below ocean sediments. Fungi are hypothesized to contribute to phytoplankton population cycles and the biological carbon pump and are active in the chemistry of marine sediments. Many fungi have been identified as commensals or pathogens of marine animals (e.g., corals and sponges), plants, and algae. Despite their varied roles, remarkably little is known about the diversity of this major branch of eukaryotic life in marine ecosystems or their ecological functions. This perspective emerges from a Marine Fungi Workshop held in May 2018 at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA. We present the state of knowledge as well as the multitude of open questions regarding the diversity and function of fungi in the marine biosphere and geochemical cycles.
Wang, Z. ; Miguel-Rojas, C. ; Lopez-Giraldez, F. ; Yarden, O. ; Trail, F. ; Townsend, J. P. Metabolism and Development during Conidial Germination in Response to a Carbon-Nitrogen-Rich Synthetic or a Natural Source of Nutrition in  Neurospora crassa . mBio 2019, 10, e00192-19. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Fungal spores germinate and undergo vegetative growth, leading to either asexual or sexual reproductive dispersal. Previous research has indicated that among developmental regulatory genes, expression is conserved across nutritional environments, whereas pathways for carbon and nitrogen metabolism appear highly responsive—perhaps to accommodate differential nutritive processing. To comprehensively investigate conidial germination and the adaptive life history decision-making underlying these two modes of reproduction, we profiled transcription of Neurospora crassa germinating on two media: synthetic Bird medium, designed to promote asexual reproduction; and a natural maple sap medium, on which both asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction manifest. A later start to germination but faster development was observed on synthetic medium. Metabolic genes exhibited altered expression in response to nutrients—at least 34% of the genes in the genome were significantly downregulated during the first two stages of conidial germination on synthetic medium. Knockouts of genes exhibiting differential expression across development altered germination and growth rates, as well as in one case causing abnormal germination. A consensus Bayesian network of these genes indicated especially tight integration of environmental sensing, asexual and sexual development, and nitrogen metabolism on a natural medium, suggesting that in natural environments, a more dynamic and tentative balance of asexual and sexual development may be typical of N. crassa colonies.IMPORTANCE One of the most remarkable successes of life is its ability to flourish in response to temporally and spatially varying environments. Fungi occupy diverse ecosystems, and their sensitivity to these environmental changes often drives major fungal life history decisions, including the major switch from vegetative growth to asexual or sexual reproduction. Spore germination comprises the first and simplest stage of vegetative growth. We examined the dependence of this early life history on the nutritional environment using genome-wide transcriptomics. We demonstrated that for developmental regulatory genes, expression was generally conserved across nutritional environments, whereas metabolic gene expression was highly labile. The level of activation of developmental genes did depend on current nutrient conditions, as did the modularity of metabolic and developmental response network interactions. This knowledge is critical to the development of future technologies that could manipulate fungal growth for medical, agricultural, or industrial purposes.
2018
Hu, C. ; Zhou, M. ; Wang, W. ; Sun, X. ; Yarden, O. ; Li, S. Abnormal Ergosterol Biosynthesis Activates Transcriptional Responses to Antifungal Azoles. Front Microbiol 2018, 9 9.Abstract
Fungi transcriptionally upregulate expression of azole efflux pumps and ergosterol biosynthesis pathway genes when exposed to antifungal agents that target ergosterol biosynthesis. To date, these transcriptional responses have been shown to be dependent on the presence of the azoles and/or depletion of ergosterol. Using an inducible promoter to regulate , which encodes the major azole target, sterol 14α-demethylase, we were able to demonstrate that the CDR4 azole efflux pump can be transcriptionally activated by ergosterol biosynthesis inhibition even in the absence of azoles. By analyzing ergosterol deficient mutants, we demonstrate that the transcriptional responses by and, unexpectedly, genes encoding ergosterol biosynthesis enzymes ( genes) that are responsive to azoles, are not dependent on ergosterol depletion. Nonetheless, deletion of , which encodes C-8 sterol isomerase, also induced expression of . Deletion of also induced the expression of , the gene encoding C-14 sterol reductase, but not other tested genes which were responsive to inactivation. This indicates that inhibition of specific steps of ergosterol biosynthesis can result in different transcriptional responses, which is further supported by our results obtained using different ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitors. Together with the sterol profiles, these results suggest that the transcriptional responses by and genes are associated with accumulation of specific sterol intermediate(s). This was further supported by the fact that when the mutant was treated with ketoconazole, upstream inhibition overrode the effects by downstream inhibition on ergosterol biosynthesis pathway. Even though expression is associated with the accumulation of sterol intermediates, intra- and extracellular sterol analysis by HPLC-MS indicated that the transcriptional induction of did not result in efflux of the accumulated intermediate(s). This study demonstrates, by detailed genetic and chemical analysis, that transcriptional responses by a major efflux pump and genes of the ergosterol biosynthesis pathway to ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitors can be independent of the presence of the drugs and are linked with the accumulation of ergosterol intermediate(s).
du Plessis, I. L. ; Druzhinina, I. S. ; Atanasova, L. ; Yarden, O. ; Jacobs, K. The diversity of Trichoderma species from soil in South Africa, with five new additions. Mycologia 2018, 110, 559-583.Abstract
Fourteen Trichoderma (Hypocreales) species were identified during a survey of the genus in South Africa. These include T. afroharzianum, T. asperelloides, T. asperellum, T. atrobrunneum, T. atroviride, T. camerunense, T. gamsii, T. hamatum, T. koningii, T. koningiopsis, T. saturnisporum, T. spirale, T. virens, and T. viride. Ten of these species were not known to occur in South Africa prior to this investigation. Five additional species were novel and are described here as T. beinartii, T. caeruleimontis, T. chetii, T. restrictum, and T. undulatum. These novel Trichoderma species display morphological traits that are typical of the genus. Based on molecular identification using calmodulin, endochitinase, nuc rDNA internal transcribed spacers (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2), RNA polymerase II subunit B, and translation elongation factor 1-α gene sequence data, T. beinartii, T. caeruleimontis, and T. chetii were found to belong to the Longibrachiatum clade, whereas T. restrictum is a member of the Hamatum clade. Trichoderma undulatum occupies a distinct lineage distantly related to other Trichoderma species. Strains of T. beinartii and T. chetii were isolated previously in Hawaii and Israel; however, T. caeruleimontis, T. restrictum, and T. undulatum are so far known only from South Africa.
Aharoni-Kats, L. ; Zelinger, E. ; Chen, S. ; Yarden, O. Altering Neurospora crassa MOB2A exposes its functions in development and affects its interaction with the NDR kinase COT1. Mol Microbiol 2018, 108, 641-660.Abstract
The Neurospora crassa Mps One Binder (MOB) proteins MOB2A and MOB2B physically interact with the Nuclear Dbf2 Related (NDR) kinase COT1 and have been shown to have overlapping functions in various aspects of asexual development. Here, we identified two N. crassa MOB2A residues, Tyr117 and Tyr119, which are potentially phosphorylated. Using phosphomimetic mob-2a mutants we have been able to establish that apart from their previously described roles, MOB2A/B are involved in additional developmental processes. Enhanced conidial germination, accompanied by conidial agglutination, in the phosphomimetic mutants indicated that MOB2A is a negative regulator of germination. Thick-section imaging of perithecia revealed slow maturation and a lack of asci alignment in the mutant strains demonstrating a role for MOB2A in sexual development. We demonstrate that even though MOB2A and MOB2B have some overlapping functions, MOB2B cannot compensate for the roles MOB2A has in conidiation and germination. Altering Tyr residues 117 and 119 impaired the physical interactions between MOB2A and COT1, most likely contributing to some of the observed effects. As cot-1 and the phosphomimetic mutants share an extragenic suppressor (gul-1), we concluded that at least some of the effects imposed by altering Tyr117 and Tyr119 are mediated by the NDR kinase.
Yoav, S. ; Salame, T. M. ; Feldman, D. ; Levinson, D. ; Ioelovich, M. ; Morag, E. ; Yarden, O. ; Bayer, E. A. ; Hadar, Y. Effects of cre1 modification in the white-rot fungus Pleurotus ostreatus PC9: altering substrate preference during biological pretreatment. 2018, 11, 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.
2017
Herold, I. ; Yarden, O. Regulation of Neurospora crassa cell wall remodeling via the cot-1 pathway is mediated by gul-1. Curr Genet 2017, 63, 145-159.Abstract
Impairment of the Neurospora crassa Nuclear DBF2-related kinase-encoding gene cot-1 results in pleiotropic effects, including abnormally thick hyphal cell walls and septa. An increase in the transcript abundance of genes encoding chitin and glucan synthases and the chitinase gh18-5, but not the cell wall integrity pathway transcription factor rlm-1, accompany the phenotypic changes observed. Deletion of chs-5 or chs-7 in a cot-1 background results in a reduction of hyperbranching frequency characteristic of the cot-1 parent. gul-1 (a homologue of the yeast SSD1 gene) encodes a translational regulator and has been shown to partially suppress cot-1. We demonstrate that the high expression levels of the cell wall remodeling genes analyzed is curbed, and reaches near wild type levels, when gul-1 is inactivated. This is accompanied by morphological changes that include reduced cell wall thickness and restoration of normal chitin levels. We conclude that gul-1 is a mediator of cell wall remodeling within the cot-1 pathway.
Simkovitch, R. ; Gajst, O. ; Zelinger, E. ; Yarden, O. ; Huppert, D. Irradiation by blue light in the presence of a photoacid confers changes to colony morphology of the plant pathogen Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology 2017, 174, 1 - 9. Publisher's VersionAbstract
We used the photoacid 8-hydroxy-1,3,6-pyrenetrisulfonate (HPTS) that converts blue photons to acidic protons in water, with an efficiency of close to 100%, and determined that this treatment conferred changes to colony morphology of the plant pathogen Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. The time elapsed until hyphal collapse is noticed depends on both the laser intensity in mW/cm2, and the concentration of HPTS in the Agar hydrogel. The time elapsed until hyphal collapse is noticed varies by only ±8% at HPTS concentrations of 500μM and at lower concentrations of HPTS the variance increases as the inverse of the concentration. We found that the effect on C. gloeosporioides was photoacid concentration and irradiation dose dependent. In the presence of 500μM of HPTS within the agar hydrogel-based medium, hyphae collapsed after 37±3.5min of irradiation at 405nm at an intensity of 25mW/cm2. We propose two mechanisms for such photo-alteration of C. gloeosporioides. One is based on the pH drop in the extracellular environment by the photo-protolytic process that the photoacid molecule undergoes. The second mechanism is based on an intracellular mechanism in which there is an uptake of HPTS into the interior of the fungus. We suggest that both mechanisms for photo-alteration which we found in this study may occur in plants during fungal infection.
Shomin-Levi, H. ; Yarden, O. The PP2A Regulatory Subunits RGB1 and B56 Are Required for Proper Growth and Development and Interact with the NDR Kinase COT1. Front Microbiol 2017, 8 1694.Abstract
COT1 is the founding member of the highly conserved nuclear Dbf2-related (NDR) Ser/Thr kinase family and plays a role in the regulation of polar growth and development in and other fungi. Changes in COT1 phosphorylation state have been shown to affect hyphal elongation, branching, and conidiation. The function of NDR protein kinases has been shown to be regulated by type 2A protein phosphatases (PP2As). PP2As are heterotrimers comprised of a catalytic and scaffolding protein along with an interchangeable regulatory subunit involved in determining substrate specificity. Inactivation of the PP2A regulatory subunits and conferred severe hyphal growth defects. Partial suppression of defects observed in the strain (but not in the Δ mutant) was observed in phosphomimetic mutants, demonstrating that altering COT1 phosphorylation state can bypass, at least in part, the requirement of a functional RGB1 subunit. The functional fusion proteins RGB1::GFP and B56::GFP predominantly localized to hyphal tips and septa, respectively, indicating that their primary activity is in different cellular locations. COT1 protein forms exhibited a hyperphosphorylated gel migration pattern in an mutant background, similar to that observed when the fungus was cultured in the presence of the PP2A inhibitor cantharidin. COT1 was hypophosphorylated in a Δ mutant background, suggesting that this regulatory subunit may be involved in determining COT1 phosphorylation state, yet in an indirect manner. Reciprocal co-immunoprecipitation analyses, using tagged COT1, PPH1, RGB1, and B56 subunits established that these proteins physically interact. Taken together, our data determine the presence of a functional and physical link between PP2A and COT1 and show that two of the PP2A regulatory subunits interact with the kinase and determine COT1 phosphorylation state.
Nimri, L. ; Spivak, O. ; Tal, D. ; Schälling, D. ; Peri, I. ; Graeve, L. ; Salame, T. M. ; Yarden, O. ; Hadar, Y. ; Schwartz, B. A recombinant fungal compound induces anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects on colon cancer cells. Oncotarget 2017, 8 28854-28864.Abstract
Finding intracellular pathways and molecules that can prevent the proliferation of colon cancer cells can provide significant bases for developing treatments for this disease. Ostreolysin (Oly) is a protein found in the mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus, and we have produced a recombinant version of this protein (rOly).We measured the viability of several colon cancer cells treated with rOly. Xenografts and syngeneic colon cancer cells were injected into in vivo mouse models, which were then treated with this recombinant protein.rOly treatment induced a significant reduction in viability of human and mouse colon cancer cells. In contrast, there was no reduction in the viability of normal epithelial cells from the small intestine. In the search for cellular targets of rOly, we showed that it enhances the anti-proliferative activity of drugs targeting cellular tubulin. This was accompanied by a reduction in the weight and volume of tumours in mice injected with rOly as compared to their respective control mice in two in vivo models.Our results advance the functional understanding of rOly as a potential anti-cancer treatment associated with pro-apoptotic activities preferentially targeting colon cancer cells.
Feldman, D. ; Kowbel, D. J. ; Glass, N. L. ; Yarden, O. ; Hadar, Y. A role for small secreted proteins (SSPs) in a saprophytic fungal lifestyle: Ligninolytic enzyme regulation in Pleurotus ostreatus. Scientific Reports 2017, 7 14553. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Small secreted proteins (SSPs), along with lignocellulose degrading enzymes, are integral components of the secretome of Pleurotus ostreatus, a white rot fungus. In this study, we identified 3 genes (ssp1, 2 and 3) encoding proteins that are annotated as SSPs and that exhibited of ~4,500- fold expression, 24 hr following exposure to the toxic compound 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Homologues to genes encoding these SSPs are present in the genomes of other basidiomycete fungi, however the role of SSPs is not yet understood. SSPs, aryl-alcohol oxidases (AAO) and the intracellular aryl-alcohol dehydrogenases (AAD) were also produced after exposure to other aryl-alcohols, known substrates and inducers of AAOs, and during idiophase (after the onset of secondary metabolism). A knockdown strain of ssp1 exhibited reduced production of AAO-and AAD-encoding genes after HMF exposure. Conversely, a strain overexpressing ssp1 exhibited elevated expression of genes encoding AAOs and ADD, resulting in a 3-fold increase in enzymatic activity of AAOs, as well as increased expression and protein abundance of versatile peroxidase 1, which directly degrades lignin. We propose that in addition to symbionts and pathogens, SSPs also have roles in saprophytes and function in P. ostreatus as components of the ligninolytic system.
2016
Lang-Yona, N. ; Shuster-Meiseles, T. ; Mazar, Y. ; Yarden, O. ; Rudich, Y. Impact of urban air pollution on the allergenicity of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia: Outdoor exposure study supported by laboratory experiments. 2016, 541, 365 - 371. Publisher's VersionAbstract
ABSTRACTUnderstanding the chemical interactions of common allergens in urban environments may help to decipher the general increase in susceptibility to allergies observed in recent decades. In this study, asexual conidia of the allergenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus were exposed to air pollution under natural (ambient) and controlled (laboratory) conditions. The allergenic activity was measured using two immunoassays and supported by a protein mass spectrometry analysis. The allergenicity of the conidia was found to increase by 2–5 fold compared to the control for short exposure times of up to 12h (accumulated exposure of about 50ppb NO2 and 750ppb O3), possibly due to nitration. At higher exposure times, the allergenicity increase lessened due to protein deamidation. These results indicate that during the first 12h of exposure, the allergenic potency of the fungal allergen A. fumigatus in polluted urban environments is expected to increase. Additional work is needed in order to determine if this behavior occurs for other allergens.