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Gert Bange, Florian Altegoer
Plants have to cope with numerous stresses in nature to avoid damage or cell death. We recently reported a class of plant defense proteins termed kiwellins that were initially found in kiwifruit and shown to be causative to human food allergies. While kiwifruits among other domestic fruits always contain high amounts of kiwellin protein, available transcriptome data indicate an up-regulation of kiwellin genes upon pathogen contact in various other plants. In the case of an interaction between maize plant and the smut fungus Ustilago maydis, we could identify one kiwellin (termed: ZmKWL1) highly up-regulated in response to pathogen attack...
2019: Communicative & Integrative Biology
Isabell-Christin Fiedler, Arne Weiberg, Karina van der Linde
Inspired by Homer´s Trojan horse myth, we engineered the maize pathogen Ustilago maydis to deliver secreted proteins into the maize apoplast permitting in vivo phenotypic analysis. This method does not rely on maize transformation but exploits microbial genetics and secretory capabilities of pathogens. Herein, it allows inspection of in vivo delivered secreted proteins with high spatiotemporal resolution at different kinds of infection sites and tissues. The Trojan horse strategy can be utilized to transiently complement maize loss-of-function phenotypes, to functionally characterize protein domains, to analyze off-target protein effects, or to study onside protein overdosage, making it a powerful tool for protein studies in the maize crop system...
February 8, 2019: Journal of Visualized Experiments: JoVE
Syun-Wun Liang, Yen-Hua Huang, Jian-Ying Chiu, Hsin-Wan Tseng, Jin-Hsing Haung, Wei-Chiang Shen
Zizania latifolia Turcz., which is mainly distributed in Asia, has had a long cultivation history as a cereal and vegetable crop. On infection with the smut fungus Ustilago esculenta, Z. latifolia becomes an edible vegetable, water bamboo. Two main cultivars, with a green shell and red shell, are cultivated for commercial production in Taiwan. Previous studies indicated that cultivars of Z. latifolia may be related to the infected U. esculenta isolates. However, related research is limited. The infection process of the corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis is coupled with sexual development and under control of the mating type locus...
February 19, 2019: Fungal Genetics and Biology: FG & B
Blanca Rosales-Acosta, Aarón Mendieta, Clara Zúñiga, Joaquín Tamariz, César Hernández Rodríguez, José Antonio Ibarra-García, Lourdes Villa-Tanaca
BACKGROUND: The enzyme 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (Hmgr) catalyzes the synthesis of mevalonate, a key compound for the synthesis of cholesterol in humans and ergosterol in fungi. Since the Hmgr enzymes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Candida glabrata are similar to the Hmgr enzymes of mammals, fungal Hmgr enzymes have been proposed as a model for studying antifungal agents. AIMS: To examine the correlation between inhibiting Um-Hmgr enzyme and the viability, sterols synthesis and mating in Ustilago maydis...
February 7, 2019: Revista Iberoamericana de Micología
Jessica Müller, Thomas Pohlmann, Michael Feldbrügge
Active movement of mRNAs by sophisticated transport machineries determines precise spatiotemporal expression of encoded proteins. A prominent example discovered in fungi is microtubule-dependent transport via endosomes. This mode of transport was thought to be only operational in the basidiomycete Ustilago maydis. Here, we report that distinct core components are evolutionarily conserved in fungal species of distantly related phyla like Mucoromycota. Interestingly, orthologues of the key RNA-binding protein Rrm4 from the higher basidiomycete Coprinopsis cinerea and the mucoromycete Rhizophagus irregularis shuttle on endosomes in hyphae of U...
February 6, 2019: Fungal Genetics and Biology: FG & B
Ronelle Roth, Stefan Hillmer, Charlotta Funaya, Marco Chiapello, Karin Schumacher, Libera Lo Presti, Regine Kahmann, Uta Paszkowski
During establishment of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses, fungal hyphae invade root cells producing transient tree-like structures, the arbuscules, where exchange of photosynthates for soil minerals occurs. Arbuscule formation and collapse lead to rapid production and degradation of plant and fungal membranes, their spatiotemporal dynamics directly influencing nutrient exchange. We determined the ultra-structural details of both membrane surfaces and the interstitial apoplastic matrix by transmission electron microscopy tomography during growth and senescence of Rhizophagus irregularis arbuscules in rice...
February 2019: Nature Plants
Hamed Hosseinpour Tehrani, Elena Geiser, Meike Engel, Sandra K Hartmann, Abeer H Hossain, Peter J Punt, Lars M Blank, Nick Wierckx
Besides enzymatic conversions, many eukaryotic metabolic pathways also involve transport proteins that shuttle molecules between subcellular compartments, or into the extracellular space. Fungal itaconate production involves two such transport steps, involving an itaconate transport protein (Itp), and a mitochondrial tricarboxylate transporter (Mtt). The filamentous ascomycete Aspergillus terreus and the unicellular basidiomycete Ustilago maydis both produce itaconate, but do so via very different molecular pathways, and under very different cultivation conditions...
January 28, 2019: Fungal Genetics and Biology: FG & B
Dario R Olicón-Hernández, Minerva G Araiza-Villanueva, Juan P Pardo, Elisabet Aranda, Guadalupe Guerra-Sánchez
The basidiomycete Ustilago maydis is a biotrophic organism responsible for corn smut disease. In recent years, it has become one of the most promising models for biochemical and biotechnological research due to advantages, such as rapid growth, and easy genetic manipulation. In some aspects, this yeast is more similar to complex eukaryotes, such as humans, compared to standard laboratory yeast models. U. maydis can be employed as a tool to explore physiological processes with more versatility than other fungi...
January 28, 2019: Current Microbiology
Yafen Zhang, Yumei Yin, Peng Hu, Jiajia Yu, Wenqiang Xia, Qianwen Ge, Qianchao Cao, Haifeng Cui, Xiaoping Yu, Zihong Ye
Ustilago esculenta is closely related to the smut fungus Ustilago maydis and, in an endophytic-like life in the plant Zizania latifolia, only infects host stems and causes swollen stems to form edible galls called Jiaobai in China. In order to study its different modes of invasion and sites of symptom development from other smut fungi at the molecular level, we first characterized the a and b mating-type loci of U. esculenta. The a loci contained three a mating-type alleles, encoding two pheromones and one pheromone receptor per allele...
January 24, 2019: Fungal Genetics and Biology: FG & B
Michèle Reindl, Sebastian Hänsch, Stefanie Weidtkamp-Peters, Kerstin Schipper
Protein export in eukaryotes can either occur via the classical pathway traversing the endomembrane system or exploit alternative routes summarized as unconventional secretion. Besides multiple examples in higher eukaryotes, unconventional secretion has also been described for fungal proteins with diverse functions in important processes such as development or virulence. Accumulating molecular insights into the different export pathways suggest that unconventional secretion in fungal microorganisms does not follow a common scheme but has evolved multiple times independently...
January 22, 2019: International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Leandro A N N Agra, Claudine D S Seixas, José C Dianese
Identification of the "bean smut" reported in 1998 in abstracts from two conferences was later disseminated by a Plant Disease Note; citations in books, papers, and blogs; and in several official sites, including databases curated by the United States Department of Agriculture and Embrapa-Brazil. After seeing the illustration of the syndrome in 2002, the need became clear for a review of the so-called bean smut. Field collections indicated that it is common in no-till bean and soybean farming in Brazil...
March 2018: Plant Disease
Kaitlyn J Courville, Lamprinos Frantzeskakis, Summia Gul, Natalie Haeger, Ronny Kellner, Natascha Heßler, Brad Day, Björn Usadel, Yogesh K Gupta, H Peter van Esse, Andreas Brachmann, Eric Kemen, Michael Feldbrügge, Vera Göhre
Biotrophic fungal plant pathogens can balance their virulence and form intricate relationships with their hosts. Sometimes, this leads to systemic host colonization over long timescales without macroscopic symptoms. However, how plant-pathogenic endophytes manage to establish their sustained systemic infection remains largely unknown. Here, we present a genomic and transcriptomic analysis of Thecaphora thlaspeos. This relative of the well-studied grass smut Ustilago maydis is the only smut fungus adapted to Brassicaceae hosts...
January 21, 2019: New Phytologist
Xiaowei Han, Florian Altegoer, Wieland Steinchen, Lynn Binnebesel, Jan Schuhmacher, Timo Glatter, Pietro I Giammarinaro, Armin Djamei, Stefan A Rensing, Stefanie Reissmann, Regine Kahmann, Gert Bange
Fungi-induced plant diseases affect global food security and plant ecology. The biotrophic fungus Ustilago maydis causes smut disease in maize (Zea mays) plants by secreting numerous virulence effectors that reprogram plant metabolism and immune responses1,2 . The secreted fungal chorismate mutase Cmu1 presumably affects biosynthesis of the plant immune signal salicylic acid by channelling chorismate into the phenylpropanoid pathway3 . Here we show that one of the 20 maize-encoded kiwellins (ZmKWL1) specifically blocks the catalytic activity of Cmu1...
January 16, 2019: Nature
Davide Sosso, Karina Van Der Linde, Margaret Bezrutczyk, David Schuler, Karina Schneider, Jörg T Kämper, Virginia Walbot
The basidiomycete Ustilago maydis causes smut disease in maize (Zea mays L.) by infecting all plant aerial tissues. The infection causes leaf chlorosis and stimulates the plant to produce nutrient-rich niches, i.e., tumors, where the fungus can proliferate and complete its life cycle. Previous studies have recorded high accumulation of soluble sugars and starch within these tumors. Using interdisciplinary approaches, we found that the sugar accumulation within tumors coincided with differential expression of plant SWEET sugar transporters and the H+/sucrose symporter ZmSUT1 (Sucrose Transporter1)...
December 28, 2018: Plant Physiology
Karla Yuritzi Amador-Rodríguez, Laura Eugenia Pérez-Cabrera, Fidel Guevara-Lara, Norma Angélica Chávez-Vela, Francisco Aníbal Posadas-Del Río, Héctor Silos-Espino, Fernando Martínez-Bustos
The aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of the addition of huitlacoche paste to nixtamalized blue-corn flours (NBCF) on the physicochemical, thermal, and rheological properties of masas. Raw blue maize was nixtamalized (hydrothermal alkalinized process), then was wet-milled in a stone mill, masa was dehydrated, pulverized and sieved to obtain NBCF; commercial nixtamalized blue-corn flour (CNBCF) was used as a control. Huitlacoche paste in concentrations of 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18% was added to nixtamalized flours...
April 25, 2019: Food Chemistry
Lalu M K Vijayakrishnapillai, John S Desmarais, Michael N Groeschen, Michael H Perlin
The PTEN/PI3K/mTOR signal transduction pathway is involved in the regulation of biological processes such as metabolism, cell growth, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. This pathway has been extensively studied in mammals, leading to the conclusion that PTEN is a major tumor suppressor gene. PTEN orthologues have been characterized in a variety of organisms, both vertebrates and non-vertebrates, and studies of the associated PTEN/PI3K/mTOR pathway indicate that it is widely conserved. Studies in fungal systems indicated a role of PTEN in fungal defense mechanisms in Candida albicans , and in the developmental process of sporulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae ...
December 20, 2018: Journal of Fungi (Basel, Switzerland)
Markus Jan Müller, Sarah Stachurski, Peter Stoffels, Kerstin Schipper, Michael Feldbrügge, Jochen Büchs
Background: Pectin is a rather complex and highly branched polysaccharide strengthening the plant cell wall. Thus, many different pectinases are required for an efficient microbial conversion of biomass waste streams with a high pectin content like citrus peel, apple pomace or sugar beet pulp. The screening and optimization of strains growing on pectic substrates requires both, quantification of the residual substrate and an accurate determination of the enzymatic activity. Galacturonic acid, the main sugar unit of pectin, is an uncommon substrate for microbial fermentations...
2018: Journal of Biological Engineering
Matthias G Steiger, Alice Rassinger, Diethard Mattanovich, Michael Sauer
We engineered Aspergillus niger using a gene responsible for citric acid transport, which has a significant impact on citric acid secretion when overexpressed.. The transport gene was identified by a homology search using an itaconic acid transporter from Ustilago maydis as template. The encoding homologous protein CexA belongs to the major facilitator superfamily subclass DHA1 and members of this family work as drug-H+ antiporter. The disruption of this gene completely abolishes citric acid secretion, which indicates that this protein is the main citric acid transporter in A...
December 13, 2018: Metabolic Engineering
Lilli Olgeiser, Carl Haag, Susan Boerner, Jernej Ule, Anke Busch, Janine Koepke, Julian König, Michael Feldbrügge, Kathi Zarnack
RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) determine spatiotemporal gene expression by mediating active transport and local translation of cargo mRNAs. Here, we cast a transcriptome-wide view on the transported mRNAs and cognate RBP binding sites during endosomal messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) transport in Ustilago maydis Using individual-nucleotide resolution UV crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (iCLIP), we compare the key transport RBP Rrm4 and the newly identified endosomal mRNP component Grp1 that is crucial to coordinate hyphal growth...
December 14, 2018: EMBO Reports
Shigeyuki Tanaka, Gabriel Schweizer, Nicole Rössel, Fumi Fukada, Marco Thines, Regine Kahmann
Plant-pathogenic fungi hijack their hosts by secreting effector proteins. Effectors serve to suppress plant immune responses and modulate the host metabolism to benefit the pathogen. Smut fungi are biotrophic pathogens that also parasitize important cereals, including maize1 . Symptom development is usually restricted to the plant inflorescences. Ustilago maydis is an exception in its ability to cause tumours in both inflorescences and leaves of maize, and in inducing anthocyanin biosynthesis through the secreted Tin2 effector2,3 ...
December 3, 2018: Nature Microbiology
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