Extracellular vesicle production is a ubiquitous process in Gram-negative bacteria, but little is known about such process in Gram-positive bacteria. We report the isolation of extracellular vesicles from the supernatants of Bacillus anthracis, a Gram-positive bacillus that is a powerful agent for biological warfare. B. anthracis vesicles formed at the outer layer of the bacterial cell had double-membrane spheres and ranged from 50 to 150 nm in diameter. Immunoelectron microscopy with mAbs to protective antigen, lethal factor, edema toxin, and anthrolysin revealed toxin components and anthrolysin in vesicles, with some vesicles containing more than one toxin component. Toxin-containing vesicles were also visualized inside B. anthracis -infected macrophages. ELISA and immunoblot analysis of vesicle preparations confirmed the presence of B. anthracis toxin components. A mAb to protective antigen protected macrophages against vesicles from an anthrolysin-deficient strain, but not against vesicles from Sterne 34F2 and Sterne δT strains, consistent with the notion that vesicles delivered both toxin and anthrolysin to host cells. Vesicles were immunogenic in BALB/c mice, which produced a robust IgM response to toxin components. Furthermore, vesicle-immunized mice lived significantly longer than controls after B. anthracis challenge. Our results indicate that toxin secretion in B. anthracis is, at least, partially vesicle-associated, thus allowing concentrated delivery of toxin components to target host cells, a mechanism that may increase toxin potency. Our observations may have important implications for the design of vaccines, for passive antibody strategies, and provide a previously unexplored system for studying secretory pathways in Gram-positive bacteria.
BackgroundExtracellular vesicles in yeast cells are involved in the molecular traffic across the cell wall. In yeast pathogens, these vesicles have been implicated in the transport of proteins, lipids, polysaccharide and pigments to the extracellular space. Cellular pathways required for the biogenesis of yeast extracellular vesicles are largely unknown.Methodology/Principal FindingsWe characterized extracellular vesicle production in wild type (WT) and mutant strains of the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae using transmission electron microscopy in combination with light scattering analysis, lipid extraction and proteomics. WT cells and mutants with defective expression of Sec4p, a secretory vesicle-associated Rab GTPase essential for Golgi-derived exocytosis, or Snf7p, which is involved in multivesicular body (MVB) formation, were analyzed in parallel. Bilayered vesicles with diameters at the 100–300 nm range were found in extracellular fractions from yeast cultures. Proteomic analysis of vesicular fractions from the cells aforementioned and additional mutants with defects in conventional secretion pathways (sec1-1, fusion of Golgi-derived exocytic vesicles with the plasma membrane; bos1-1, vesicle targeting to the Golgi complex) or MVB functionality (vps23, late endosomal trafficking) revealed a complex and interrelated protein collection. Semi-quantitative analysis of protein abundance revealed that mutations in both MVB- and Golgi-derived pathways affected the composition of yeast extracellular vesicles, but none abrogated vesicle production. Lipid analysis revealed that mutants with defects in Golgi-related components of the secretory pathway had slower vesicle release kinetics, as inferred from intracellular accumulation of sterols and reduced detection of these lipids in vesicle fractions in comparison with WT cells.Conclusions/SignificanceOur results suggest that both conventional and unconventional pathways of secretion are required for biogenesis of extracellular vesicles, which demonstrate the complexity of this process in the biology of yeast cells.
Melanins are ancient biological pigments found in all kingdoms of life. In fungi, their role in microbial pathogenesis is well established; however, these complex biomolecules also confer upon fungal microorganisms the faculty to tolerate extreme environments such as the Earth’s poles, the International Space Station and places contaminated by toxic metals and ionizing radiation. A remarkable property of melanin is its capacity to interact with a wide range of electromagnetic radiation frequencies, functioning as a protecting and energy harvesting pigment. Other roles of fungal melanin include scavenging of free radical, thermo-tolerance, metal ion sequestration, cell development, and mechanical-chemical cellular strength. In this review, we explore the various functions ascribed to this biological pigment in fungi and its remarkable physicochemical properties.
The pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans exhibits morphological changes in cell size during lung infection, producing both typical size 5 to 7 μm cells and large titan cells (> 10 μm and up to 100 μm). We found and optimized in vitro conditions that produce titan cells in order to identify the ancestry of titan cells, the environmental determinants, and the key gene regulators of titan cell formation. Titan cells generated in vitro harbor the main characteristics of titan cells produced in vivo including their large cell size (>10 μm), polyploidy with a single nucleus, large vacuole, dense capsule, and thick cell wall. Here we show titan cells derived from the enlargement of progenitor cells in the population independent of yeast growth rate. Change in the incubation medium, hypoxia, nutrient starvation and low pH were the main factors that trigger titan cell formation, while quorum sensing factors like the initial inoculum concentration, pantothenic acid, and the quorum sensing peptide Qsp1p also impacted titan cell formation. Inhibition of ergosterol, protein and nucleic acid biosynthesis altered titan cell formation, as did serum, phospholipids and anti-capsular antibodies in our settings. We explored genetic factors important for titan cell formation using three approaches. Using H99-derivative strains with natural genetic differences, we showed that titan cell formation was dependent on LMP1 and SGF29 genes. By screening a gene deletion collection, we also confirmed that GPR4/5-RIM101, and CAC1 genes were required to generate titan cells and that the PKR1, TSP2, USV101 genes negatively regulated titan cell formation. Furthermore, analysis of spontaneous Pkr1 loss-of-function clinical isolates confirmed the important role of the Pkr1 protein as a negative regulator of titan cell formation. Through development of a standardized and robust in vitro assay, our results provide new insights into titan cell biogenesis with the identification of multiple important factors/pathways.
Background: Association of the proteasome core with activators regulates proteasome activity. Results: Blm10 association increases proteasome activity toward peptides and the unstructured proteasome substrate tau-441. This process is mediated by the C terminus of Blm10. Conclusion: C-terminal docking-mediated proteasome activation by Blm10 facilitates the turnover of peptide and protein substrates. Significance: Blm10 contributes to the regulation of proteasome activity.
Secretion of virulence factors is a critical mechanism for the establishment of cryptococcosis, a disease caused by the yeast pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. One key virulence strategy of C. neoformans is the release of glucuronoxylomannan (GXM), a capsule-associated immune-modulatory polysaccharide that reaches the extracellular space through secretory vesicles. Golgi reassembly and stacking protein (GRASP) is required for unconventional protein secretion mechanisms in different eukaryotic cells, but its role in polysaccharide secretion is unknown. This study demonstrates that a C. neoformans functional mutant of a GRASP ortholog had attenuated virulence in an animal model of cryptococcosis, in comparison to wild type (WT) and reconstituted cells. Mutant cells manifested altered Golgi morphology, failed to produce typical polysaccharide capsules and showed a reduced ability to secrete GXM both in vitro and during animal infection. Isolation of GXM from cultures of WT, reconstituted or mutant strains revealed that the GRASP ortholog mutant produced polysaccharides with reduced dimensions. The mutant was also more efficiently associated to and killed by macrophages than WT and reconstituted cells. These results demonstrate that GRASP, a protein involved in unconventional protein secretion, is also required for polysaccharide secretion and virulence in C. neoformans.
The capsule of Cryptococcus neoformans is its dominant virulence factor and plays a key role in the biology of this fungus. In this essay, we focus on the capsule as a cellular structure and note the limitations inherent in the current methodologies available for its study. Given that no single method can provide the structure of the capsule, our notions of what is the cryptococcal capsule must be arrived at by synthesizing information gathered from very different methodological approaches including microscopy, polysaccharide chemistry and physical chemistry of macromolecules. The emerging picture is one of a carefully regulated dynamic structure that is constantly rearranged as a response to environmental stimulation and cellular replication. In the environment, the capsule protects the fungus against desiccation and phagocytic predators. In animal hosts the capsule functions in both offensive and defensive modes, such that it interferes with immune responses while providing the fungal cell with a defensive shield that is both antiphagocytic and capable of absorbing microbicidal oxidative bursts from phagocytic cells. Finally, we delineate a set of unsolved problems in the cryptococcal capsule field that could provide fertile ground for future investigations.
scite is a Brooklyn-based organization that helps researchers better discover and understand research articles through Smart Citations–citations that display the context of the citation and describe whether the article provides supporting or contrasting evidence. scite is used by students and researchers from around the world and is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health.
334 Leonard St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Copyright © 2024 scite LLC. All rights reserved.
Made with 💙 for researchers
Part of the Research Solutions Family.