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Patkar R.N.,Fungal Patho Biology Group | Suresh A.,Fungal Patho Biology Group | Naqvi N.I.,Fungal Patho Biology Group | Naqvi N.I.,National University of Singapore
Eukaryotic Cell

Polarized growth is essential for cellular development and function and requires coordinated organization of the cytoskeletal elements. Tea4, an important polarity determinant, regulates localized F-actin assembly and bipolar growth in fission yeast and directional mycelial growth in Aspergillus. Here, we characterize Tea4 in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae (MoTea4). Similar to its orthologs, MoTea4-green fluorescent protein (MoTea4-GFP) showed punctate distribution confined to growth zones, particularly in the mycelial tips, aerial hyphae, conidiophores, conidia, and infection structures (appressoria) in Magnaporthe. MoTea4 was dispensable for vegetative growth in Magnaporthe. However, loss of MoTea4 led to a zigzag morphology in the aerial hyphae and a huge reduction in conidiation. The majority of the tea4Δ conidia were two celled, as opposed to the tricellular conidia in the wild type. Structure-function analysis indicated that the SH3 and coiled-coil domains of MoTea4 are necessary for proper conidiation in Magnaporthe. The tea4Δ conidia failed to produce proper appressoria and consequently failed to infect the host plants. The tea4Δ conidia and germ tubes showed disorganized F-actin structures with significantly reduced numbers of cortical actin patches. Compared to the wild-type conidia, the tea4Δ conidia showed aberrant germination, poor cytoplasmic streaming, and persistent accumulation of lipid droplets, likely due to the impaired F-actin cytoskeleton. Latrunculin A treatment of germinating wild-type conidia showed that an intact F-actin cytoskeleton is indeed essential for appressorial development in Magnaporthe. We show that MoTea4 plays an important role in organizing the F-actin cytoskeleton and is essentially required for polarized growth and morphogenesis during asexual and pathogenic development in Magnaporthe. © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. Source

Ramanujam R.,Fungal Patho Biology Group | Ramanujam R.,Nanyang Technological University | Naqvi N.I.,Fungal Patho Biology Group | Naqvi N.I.,Nanyang Technological University | Naqvi N.I.,National University of Singapore
PLoS Pathogens

Cyclic AMP-dependent pathways mediate the communication between external stimuli and the intracellular signaling machinery, thereby influencing important aspects of cellular growth, morphogenesis and differentiation. Crucial to proper function and robustness of these signaling cascades is the strict regulation and maintenance of intracellular levels of cAMP through a fine balance between biosynthesis (by adenylate cyclases) and hydrolysis (by cAMP phosphodiesterases). We functionally characterized gene-deletion mutants of a high-affinity (PdeH) and a low-affinity (PdeL) cAMP phosphodiesterase in order to gain insights into the spatial and temporal regulation of cAMP signaling in the rice-blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. In contrast to the expendable PdeL function, the PdeH activity was found to be a key regulator of asexual and pathogenic development in M. oryzae. Loss of PdeH led to increased accumulation of intracellular cAMP during vegetative and infectious growth. Furthermore, the pdeHD showed enhanced conidiation (2-3 fold), precocious appressorial development, loss of surface dependency during pathogenesis, and highly reduced in planta growth and host colonization. A pdeHD pdeLD mutant showed reduced conidiation, exhibited dramatically increased (,10 fold) cAMP levels relative to the wild type, and was completely defective in virulence. Exogenous addition of 8-Br-cAMP to the wild type simulated the pdeHD defects in conidiation as well as in planta growth and development. While a fully functional GFP-PdeH was cytosolic but associated dynamically with the plasma membrane and vesicular compartments, the GFP-PdeL localized predominantly to the nucleus. Based on data from cAMP measurements and Real-Time RTPCR, we uncover a PdeH-dependent biphasic regulation of cAMP levels during early and late stages of appressorial development in M. oryzae. We propose that PdeHmediated sustenance and dynamic regulation of cAMP signaling during M. oryzae development is crucial for successful establishment and spread of the blast disease in rice. © 2010 Ramanujam, Naqvi. Source

Bosch D.E.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Willard F.S.,University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Willard F.S.,Eli Lilly and Company | Ramanujam R.,Fungal Patho Biology Group | And 8 more authors.
PLoS Pathogens

Heterotrimeric G-proteins are molecular switches integral to a panoply of different physiological responses that many organisms make to environmental cues. The switch from inactive to active Gαβγ heterotrimer relies on nucleotide cycling by the Gα subunit: exchange of GTP for GDP activates Gα, whereas its intrinsic enzymatic activity catalyzes GTP hydrolysis to GDP and inorganic phosphate, thereby reverting Gα to its inactive state. In several genetic studies of filamentous fungi, such as the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae, a G42R mutation in the phosphate-binding loop of Gα subunits is assumed to be GTPase-deficient and thus constitutively active. Here, we demonstrate that Gα(G42R) mutants are not GTPase deficient, but rather incapable of achieving the activated conformation. Two crystal structure models suggest that Arg-42 prevents a typical switch region conformational change upon Gαi1(G42R) binding to GDP·AlF4 - or GTP, but rotameric flexibility at this locus allows for unperturbed GTP hydrolysis. Gα(G42R) mutants do not engage the active state-selective peptide KB-1753 nor RGS domains with high affinity, but instead favor interaction with Gβγ and GoLoco motifs in any nucleotide state. The corresponding Gαq(G48R) mutant is not constitutively active in cells and responds poorly to aluminum tetrafluoride activation. Comparative analyses of M. oryzae strains harboring either G42R or GTPase-deficient Q/L mutations in the Gα subunits MagA or MagB illustrate functional differences in environmental cue processing and intracellular signaling outcomes between these two Gα mutants, thus demonstrating the in vivo functional divergence of G42R and activating G-protein mutants. © 2012 Bosch et al. Source

Patkar R.N.,Fungal Patho Biology Group | Ramos-Pamplona M.,University of Liege | Gupta A.P.,Nanyang Technological University | Fan Y.,Fungal Patho Biology Group | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Microbiology

Fatty acids stored as triglycerides, an important source of cellular energy, are catabolized through β-oxidation pathways predicted to occur both in peroxisomes and mitochondria in filamentous fungi. Here, we characterize the function of Enoyl-CoA hydratase Ech1, a mitochondrial β-oxidation enzyme, in the model phytopathogen Magnaporthe oryzae. Ech1 was found to be essential for conidial germination and viability of older hyphae. Unlike wild-type Magnaporthe, the ech1Δ failed to utilize C14 fatty acid and was partially impeded in growth on C16 and C18 fatty acids. Surprisingly, loss of β-oxidation led to significantly altered mitochondrial morphology and integrity with ech1Δ showing predominantly vesicular/punctate mitochondria in contrast to the fused tubular network in wild-type Magnaporthe. The ech1Δ appressoria were aberrant and displayed reduced melanization. Importantly, we show that the significantly reduced ability of ech1Δ to penetrate the host and establish therein is a direct consequence of enhanced sensitivity of the mutant to oxidative stress, as the defects could be remarkably reversed through exogenous antioxidants. Overall, our comparative analyses reveal that peroxisomal lipid catabolism is essential for appressorial function of host penetration, whereas mitochondrial β-oxidation primarily contributes to conidial viability and maintenance of redox homeostasis during host colonization by Magnaporthe. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Ramanujam R.,Fungal Patho Biology Group | Ramanujam R.,Nanyang Technological University | Yishi X.,Fungal Patho Biology Group | Liu H.,Tianjin University of Science and Technology | And 3 more authors.

Background: Rgs1, a prototypical Regulator of G protein Signaling, negatively modulates the cyclic AMP pathway thereby influencing various aspects of asexual development and pathogenesis in the rice-blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Rgs1 possesses tandem DEP motifs (termed DEP-A and DEP-B; for Dishevelled, Egl-10, Pleckstrin) at the N-terminus, and a Gα-GTP interacting RGS catalytic core domain at the C-terminus. In this study, we focused on gaining further insights into the mechanisms of Rgs1 regulation and subcellular localization by characterizing the role(s) of the individual domains and the full-length protein during asexual development and pathogenesis in Magnaporthe. Methodology/Principal Findings: Utilizing western blot analysis and specific antisera against the N- and C-terminal halves of Rgs1, we identify and report the in vivo endoproteolytic processing/cleavage of full-length Rgs1 that yields an N-terminal DEP and a RGS core domain. Independent expression of the resultant DEP-DEP half (N-Rgs1) or RGS core (C-Rgs1) fragments, failed to complement the rgs1Δ defects in colony morphology, aerial hyphal growth, surface hydrophobicity, conidiation, appressorium formation and infection. Interestingly, the full-length Rgs1-mCherry, as well as the tagged N-terminal DEP domains (individually or in conjunction) localized to distinct punctate vesicular structures in the cytosol, while the catalytic RGS core motif was predominantly vacuolar. Conclusions/Significance: Based on our data from sequence alignments, immuno-blot and microscopic analysis, we propose that the post-translational proteolytic processing of Rgs1 and the vacuolar sequestration of the catalytic RGS domain represents an important means of down regulating Rgs1 function and thus forming an additional and alternative means of regulating G protein signaling in Magnaporthe. We further hypothesize the prevalence of analogous mechanisms functioning in other filamentous fungi. Furthermore, we conclusively assign a specific vesicular/membrane targeting function for the N-terminal DEP domains of Rgs1 in the rice-blast fungus. © 2012 Ramanujam et al. Source

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