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Differential deuterolysin expression with a peak at low pH in human pathogenic fungi Trichophyton rubrum and T. mentagrophytes.

Medical Mycology 2023 March 26
Trichophyton rubrum and T. mentagrophytes are the most common agents of dermatomycosis, a disease affecting millions worldwide. It has been widely recognized that secreted proteases are a key factor for host colonization. Dermatophytes have an unusually high amount of secreted protease, differentially expressed, and influenced by various conditions. This study analyzed the rule and expression of secreted deuterolysin protease of the M35 protein family in these two representative dermatophyte species. All strains secreted protease and could grow on keratin as the sole carbon and nitrogen source. Adding glucose to the keratin medium reduced the growth rate. Deuterolysin genes were most strongly expressed at acid conditions. NPIIc and NPIId expression was significantly higher than the other three deuterolysins. NPIIc had a high expression level in the two T. rubrum strains but a low expression in T. mentagrophytes strains. Both T. mentagrophytes strains had a high NPIId expression at low pH. NPIIc and NPIId deletion in T. rubrum caused a minor reduction in total protease activity, indicating the redundancy of protease in dermatophytes. It was postulated that protease gene enrichment in dermatophytes allows a sophisticated regulation of protease secretion to cope with changing conditions.

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