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  • Lutfullahoglu-Bal, Güleycan; Seferoglu, Ayse Bengisu; Keskin, Abdurrahman; Akdogan, Emel; Dunn, Cory D. (2018)
    Prokaryotes can provide new genetic information to eukaryotes by horizontal gene transfer (HGT), and such transfers are likely to have been particularly consequential in the era of eukaryogenesis. Since eukaryotes are highly compartmentalized, it is worthwhile to consider the mechanisms by which newly transferred proteins might reach diverse organellar destinations. Toward this goal, we have focused our attention upon the behavior of bacteria-derived tail anchors (TAs) expressed in the eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this study, we report that a predicted membrane-associated domain of the Escherichia coli YgiM protein is specifically trafficked to peroxisomes in budding yeast, can be found at a pre-peroxisomal compartment (PPC) upon disruption of peroxisomal biogenesis, and can functionally replace an endogenous, peroxisome-directed TA. Furthermore, the YgiM(TA) can localize to peroxisomes in mammalian cells. Since the YgiM(TA) plays no endogenous role in peroxisomal function or assembly, this domain is likely to serve as an excellent tool allowing further illumination of the mechanisms by which TAs can travel to peroxisomes. Moreover, our findings emphasize the ease with which bacteria-derived sequences might target to organelles in eukaryotic cells following HGT, and we discuss the importance of flexible recognition of organelle targeting information during and after eukaryogenesis.
  • Ahlberg, Sara; Randolph, Delia; Okoth, Sheila; Lindahl, Johanna (2019)
    Aflatoxins continue to be a food safety problem globally, especially in developing regions. A significant amount of effort and resources have been invested in an attempt to control aflatoxins. However, these efforts have not substantially decreased the prevalence nor the dietary exposure to aflatoxins in developing countries. One approach to aflatoxin control is the use of binding agents in foods, and lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been studied extensively for this purpose. However, when assessing the results comprehensively and reviewing the practicality and ethics of use, risks are evident, and concerns arise. In conclusion, our review suggests that there are too many issues with using LAB for aflatoxin binding for it to be safely promoted. Arguably, using binders in human food might even worsen food safety in the longer term.
  • Guo, Lishu; Carraro, Michela; Sartori, Geppo; Minervini, Giovanni; Eriksson, Ove; Petronilli, Valeria; Bernardi, Paolo (2018)
    Modification with arginine-specific glyoxals modulates the permeability transition (PT) of rat liver mitochondria, with inhibitory or inducing effects that depend on the net charge of the adduct(s). Here, we show that phenylglyoxal (PGO) affects the PT in a species-specific manner (inhibition in mouse and yeast, induction in human and Drosophila mitochondria). Following the hypotheses (i) that the effects are mediated by conserved arginine(s) and (ii) that the PT is mediated by the F-ATP synthase, we have narrowed the search to 60 arginines. Most of these residues are located in subunits alpha, beta, gamma, epsilon, a, and c and were excluded because PGO modification did not significantly affect enzyme catalysis. On the other hand, yeast mitochondria lacking subunit g or bearing a subunit g R107A mutation were totally resistant to PT inhibition by PGO. Thus, the effect of PGO on the PT is specifically mediated by Arg-107, the only subunit g arginine that has been conserved across species. These findings are evidence that the PT is mediated by F-ATP synthase.
  • Uudekll, Peep; Kozlova, Jekaterina; Mandar, Hugo; Link, Joosep; Sihtmae, Mariliis; Kaosaar, Sandra; Blinova, Irina; Kasemets, Kaja; Kahru, Anne; Stern, Raivo; Tatte, Tanel; Kukli, Kaupo; Tamm, Aile (2017)
    Spherical nickel particles with size in the range of 100-400 nm were synthesized by non-aqueous liquid phase benzyl alcohol method. Being developed for magnetically guided biomedical applications, the particles were coated by conformal and antimicrobial thin titanium oxide films by atomic layer deposition. The particles retained their size and crystal structure after the deposition of oxide films. The sensitivity of the coated particles to external magnetic fields was increased compared to that of the uncoated powder. Preliminary toxicological investigations on microbial cells and small aquatic crustaceans revealed non-toxic nature of the synthesized particles.
  • Euro, Liliya; Haapanen, Outi; Rog, Tomasz; Vattulainen, Ilpo; Suomalainen, Anu; Sharma, Vivek (2017)
    DNA polymerase gamma (Pol gamma) is a key component of the mitochondrial DNA replisome and an important cause of neurological diseases. Despite the availability of its crystal structures, the molecular mechanism of DNA replication, the switch between polymerase and exonuclease activities, the site of replisomal interactions, and functional effects of patient mutations that do not affect direct catalysis have remained elusive. Here we report the first atomistic classical molecular dynamics simulations of the human Pol gamma replicative complex. Our simulation data show that DNA binding triggers remarkable changes in the enzyme structure, including (1) completion of the DNA-binding channel via a dynamic subdomain, which in the apo form blocks the catalytic site, (2) stabilization of the structure through the distal accessory beta-subunit, and (3) formation of a putative transient replisome-binding platform in the "intrinsic processivity" subdomain of the enzyme. Our data indicate that noncatalytic mutations may disrupt replisomal interactions, thereby causing Pol gamma-associated neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Lutfullahoglu-Bal, Guleycan; Keskin, Abdurrahman; Seferoglu, Ayse Bengisu; Dunn, Cory D. (2017)
    Background: During the generation and evolution of the eukaryotic cell, a proteobacterial endosymbiont was re-fashioned into the mitochondrion, an organelle that appears to have been present in the ancestor of all present-day eukaryotes. Mitochondria harbor proteomes derived from coding information located both inside and outside the organelle, and the rate-limiting step toward the formation of eukaryotic cells may have been development of an import apparatus allowing protein entry to mitochondria. Currently, a widely conserved translocon allows proteins to pass from the cytosol into mitochondria, but how proteins encoded outside of mitochondria were first directed to these organelles at the dawn of eukaryogenesis is not clear. Because several proteins targeted by a carboxyl-terminal tail anchor (TA) appear to have the ability to insert spontaneously into the mitochondrial outer membrane (OM), it is possible that self-inserting, tail-anchored polypeptides obtained from bacteria might have formed the first gate allowing proteins to access mitochondria from the cytosol. Results: Here, we tested whether bacterial TAs are capable of targeting to mitochondria. In a survey of proteins encoded by the proteobacterium Escherichia coli, predicted TA sequences were directed to specific subcellular locations within the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Importantly, TAs obtained from DUF883 family members ElaB and YqjD were abundantly localized to and inserted at the mitochondrial OM. Conclusions: Our results support the notion that eukaryotic cells are able to utilize membrane-targeting signals present in bacterial proteins obtained by lateral gene transfer, and our findings make plausible a model in which mitochondrial protein translocation was first driven by tail-anchored proteins.
  • Vazquez-Garcia, Ignacio; Salinas, Francisco; Li, Jing; Fischer, Andrej; Barre, Benjamin; Hallin, Johan; Bergstrom, Anders; Alonso-Perez, Elisa; Warringer, Jonas; Mustonen, Ville; Liti, Gianni (2017)
    The joint contribution of pre-existing and de novo genetic variation to clonal adaptation is poorly understood but essential to designing successful antimicrobial or cancer therapies. To address this, we evolve genetically diverse populations of budding yeast, S. cerevisiae, consisting of diploid cells with unique haplotype combinations. We study the asexual evolution of these populations under selective inhibition with chemotherapeutic drugs by time-resolved whole-genome sequencing and phenotyping. All populations undergo clonal expansions driven by de novo mutations but remain genetically and phenotypically diverse. The clones exhibit widespread genomic instability, rendering recessive de novo mutations homozygous and refining pre-existing variation. Finally, we decompose the fitness contributions of pre-existing and de novo mutations by creating a large recombinant library of adaptive mutations in an ensemble of genetic backgrounds. Both pre-existing and de novo mutations substantially contribute to fitness, and the relative fitness of preexisting variants sets a selective threshold for new adaptive mutations.
  • Kun, Roland; Gomes, Ana Carolina S.; Hilden, Sari Kristiina; Salazar Cerezo, Sonia; Mäkelä, Miia Riitta; de Vries, Ronald (2019)
    Fungal strain engineering is commonly used in many areas of biotechnology, including the production of plant biomass degrading enzymes. Its aim varies from the production of specific enzymes to overall increased enzyme production levels and modification of the composition of the enzyme set that is produced by the fungus. Strain engineering involves a diverse range of methodologies, including classical mutagenesis, genetic engineering and genome editing. In this review, the main approaches for strain engineering of filamentous fungi in the field of plant biomass degradation will be discussed, including recent and not yet implemented methods, such as CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and adaptive evolution.
  • Kovalchuk, Andriy; Kohler, Annegret; Martin, Francis; Asiegbu, Fred O. (2015)
    Background: Transporter proteins are predicted to have an important role in the mycorrhizal symbiosis, due to the fact that this type of an interaction between plants and fungi requires a continuous nutrient and signalling exchange. ABC transporters are one of the large groups of transporter proteins found both in plants and in fungi. The crucial role of plant ABC transporters in the formation of the mycorrhizal symbiosis has been demonstrated recently. Some of the fungal ABC transporter-encoding genes are also induced during the mycorrhiza formation. However, no experimental evidences of the direct involvement of fungal ABC transporters in this process are available so far. To facilitate the identification of fungal ABC proteins with a potential role in the establishment of the mycorrhizal symbiosis, we have performed an inventory of the ABC protein-encoding genes in the genomes of 25 species of mycorrhiza-forming fungi. Results: We have identified, manually annotated and curated more than 1300 gene models of putative ABC protein-encoding genes. Out of those, more than 1000 models are predicted to encode functional proteins, whereas about 300 models represent gene fragments or putative pseudogenes. We have also performed the phylogenetic analysis of the identified sequences. The sets of ABC proteins in the mycorrhiza-forming species were compared to the related saprotrophic or plant-pathogenic fungal species. Our results demonstrate the high diversity of ABC genes in the genomes of mycorrhiza-forming fungi. Via comparison of transcriptomics data from different species, we have identified candidate groups of ABC transporters that might have a role in the process of the mycorrhiza formation. Conclusions: Results of our inventory will facilitate the identification of fungal transporters with a role in the mycorrhiza formation. We also provide the first data on ABC protein-coding genes for the phylum Glomeromycota and for orders Pezizales, Atheliales, Cantharellales and Sebacinales, contributing to the better knowledge of the diversity of this protein family within the fungal kingdom.
  • Mohan-Anupama Pawar, Prashant; Derba-Maceluch, Marta; Chong, Sun-Li; Gomez, Leonardo D.; Miedes, Eva; Banasiak, Alicja; Ratke, Christine; Gaertner, Cyril; Mouille, Gregory; McQueen-Mason, Simon J.; Molina, Antonio; Sellstedt, Anita; Tenkanen, Tiina Maija; Mellerowicz, Ewa J. (2016)
    Cell wall hemicelluloses and pectins are O-acetylated at specific positions, but the significance of these substitutions is poorly understood. Using a transgenic approach, we investigated how reducing the extent of O-acetylation in xylan affects cell wall chemistry, plant performance and the recalcitrance of lignocellulose to saccharification. The Aspergillus niger acetyl xylan esterase AnAXE1 was expressed in Arabidopsis under the control of either the constitutively expressed 35S CAMV promoter or a woody-tissue-specific GT43B aspen promoter, and the protein was targeted to the apoplast by its native signal peptide, resulting in elevated acetyl esterase activity in soluble and wall-bound protein extracts and reduced xylan acetylation. No significant alterations in cell wall composition were observed in the transgenic lines, but their xylans were more easily digested by a beta-1,4-endoxylanase, and more readily extracted by hot water, acids or alkali. Enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulose after hot water and alkali pretreatments produced up to 20% more reducing sugars in several lines. Fermentation by Trametes versicolor of tissue hydrolysates from the line with a 30% reduction in acetyl content yielded similar to 70% more ethanol compared with wild type. Plants expressing 35S: AnAXE1 and pGT43B:AnAXE1 developed normally and showed increased resistance to the biotrophic pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, probably due to constitutive activation of defence pathways. However, unintended changes in xyloglucan and pectin acetylation were only observed in 35S: AnAXE1-expressing plants. This study demonstrates that postsynthetic xylan deacetylation in woody tissues is a promising strategy for optimizing lignocellulosic biomass for biofuel production.
  • Andreevskaya, Margarita; Jääskelainen, Elina; Johansson, Per; Ylinen, Anne; Paulin, Lars; Björkroth, Johanna; Auvinen, Petri (2018)
    Psychrotrophic lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are the prevailing spoilage organisms in packaged cold-stored meat products. Species composition and metabolic activities of such LAB spoilage communities are determined by the nature of the meat product, storage conditions, and interspecies interactions. Our knowledge of system level responses of LAB during such interactions is very limited. To expand it, we studied interactions between three common psychrotrophic spoilage LAB (Leuconostoc gelidum, Lactococcus piscium, and Lactobacillus oligofermentans) by comparing their time course transcriptome profiles obtained during their growth in individual, pairwise, and triple cultures. The study revealed how these LAB employed different strategies to cope with the consequences of interspecies competition. The fastest-growing bacterium, Le. gelidum, attempted to enhance its nutrient-scavenging and growth capabilities in the presence of other LAB through upregulation of carbohydrate catabolic pathways, pyruvate fermentation enzymes, and ribosomal proteins, whereas the slower-growing Lc. piscium and Lb. oligofermentans downregulated these functions. These findings may explain the competitive success and predominance of Le. gelidum in a variety of spoiled foods. Peculiarly, interspecies interactions induced overexpression of prophage genes and restriction modification systems (mechanisms of DNA exchange and protection against it) in Lc. piscium and Lb. oligofermentans but not in Le. gelidum. Cocultivation induced also overexpression of the numerous putative adhesins in Lb. oligofermentans. These adhesins might contribute to the survival of this slowly growing bacterium in actively growing meat spoilage communities. IMPORTANCE Despite the apparent relevance of LAB for biotechnology and human health, interactions between members of LAB communities are not well known. Knowledge of such interactions is crucial for understanding how these communities function and, consequently, whether there is any possibility to develop new strategies to interfere with their growth and to postpone spoilage of packaged and refrigerated foods. With the help of controlled experiments, detailed regulation events can be observed. This study gives an insight into the system level interactions and the different competition-induced survival strategies related to enhanced uptake and catabolism of carbon sources, overexpression of adhesins and putative bacteriocins, and the induction of exchange of genetic material. Even though this experiment dealt with only three LAB strains in vitro, these findings agreed well with the relative abundance patterns typically reported for these species in natural food microbial communities.
  • Murgiano, Leonardo; Shirokova, Vera; Welle, Monika Maria; Jagannathan, Vidhya; Plattet, Philippe; Oevermann, Anna; Pienkowska-Schelling, Aldona; Gallo, Daniele; Gentile, Arcangelo; Mikkola, Marja; Drögemüller, Cord (2015)
    Four related cows showed hairless streaks on various parts of the body with no correlation to the pigmentation pattern. The stripes occurred in a consistent pattern resembling the lines of Blaschko. The non-syndromic hairlessness phenotype observed occurred across three generations of a single family and was compatible with an X-linked mode of inheritance. Linkage analysis and subsequent whole genome sequencing of one affected female identified two perfectly associated non-synonymous sequence variants in the critical interval on bovine chromosome X. Both variants occurred in complete linkage disequilibrium and were absent in more than 3900 controls. An ERCC6L missense mutation was predicted to cause an amino acid substitution of a non-conserved residue. Analysis in mice showed no specific Ercc6l expression pattern related to hair follicle development and therefore ERCC6L was not considered as causative gene. A point mutation at the 5'-splice junction of exon 5 of the TSR2, 20S rRNA accumulation, homolog (S. cerevisiae), gene led to the production of two mutant transcripts, both of which contain a frameshift and generate a premature stop codon predicted to truncate approximately 25% of the protein. Interestingly, in addition to the presence of both physiological TSR2 transcripts, the two mutant transcripts were predominantly detected in the hairless skin of the affected cows. Immunohistochemistry, using an antibody against the N-terminal part of the bovine protein demonstrated the specific expression of the TSR2 protein in the skin and the hair of the affected and the control cows as well as in bovine fetal skin and hair. The RNA hybridization in situ showed that Tsr2 was expressed in pre- and post-natal phases of hair follicle development in mice. Mammalian TSR2 proteins are highly conserved and are known to be broadly expressed, but their precise in vivo functions are poorly understood. Thus, by dissecting a naturally occurring mutation in a domestic animal species, we identified TSR2 as a regulator of hair follicle development.
  • Hartikainen, E. Samuel; Lankinen, Pauliina; Rajasärkkä, Johanna; Koponen, Hilkka; Virta, Marko; Hatakka, Annele; Kähkönen, Mika A. (2012)
  • Peng, Mao; Aguilar-Pontes, Maria V.; de Vries, Ronald P.; Mäkelä, Miia R. (2018)
    Aspergillus niger is one of the most widely used fungi to study the conversion of the lignocellulosic feedstocks into fermentable sugars. Understanding the sugar uptake system of A. niger is essential to improve the efficiency of the process of fungal plant biomass degradation. In this study, we report a comprehensive characterization of the sugar transportome of A. niger by combining phylogenetic and comparative transcriptomic analyses. We identified 86 putative sugar transporter (ST) genes based on a conserved protein domain search. All these candidates were then classified into nine subfamilies and their functional motifs and possible sugar-specificity were annotated according to phylogenetic analysis and literature mining. Furthermore, we comparatively analyzed the ST gene expression on a large set of fungal growth conditions including mono-, di- and polysaccharides, and mutants of transcriptional regulators. This revealed that transporter genes from the same phylogenetic clade displayed very diverse expression patterns and were regulated by different transcriptional factors. The genome-wide study of STs of A. niger provides new insights into the mechanisms underlying an extremely flexible metabolism and high nutritional versatility of A. niger and will facilitate further biochemical characterization and industrial applications of these candidate STs.
  • Isakova, Elena P.; Matushkina, Irina N.; Popova, Tatyana N.; Dergacheva, Darya; Gessler, Natalya N.; Klein, Olga; Semenikhina, Anastasya; Deryabina, Yulia; La Porta, Nicola; Saris, Nils-Eric L. (2020)
    In this study, we evaluated the metabolic profile of the aerobic microorganism of Endomyces magnusii with a complete respiration chain and well-developed mitochondria system during long-lasting cultivation. The yeast was grown in batches using glycerol and glucose as the sole carbon source for a week. The profile included the cellular biological and chemical parameters, which determined the redox status of the yeast cells. We studied the activities of the antioxidant systems (catalases and superoxide dismutases), glutathione system enzymes (glutathione peroxidase and reductase), aconitase, as well as the main enzymes maintaining NADPH levels in the cells (glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and NADP(+)-isocitrate dehydrogenase) during aging of Endomyces magnusii on two kinds of substrates. We also investigated the dynamics of change in oxidized and reduced glutathione, conjugated dienes, and reactive oxidative species in the cells at different growth stages, including the deep stationary stages. Our results revealed a similar trend in the changes in the activity of all the enzymes tested, which increased 2-4-fold upon aging. The yeast cytosol had a very high reduced glutathione content, 22 times than that of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and remained unchanged during growth, whereas there was a 7.5-fold increase in the reduced glutathione-to-oxidized glutathione ratio. The much higher level of reactive oxidative species was observed in the cells in the late and deep stationary phases, especially in the cells using glycerol. Cell aging of the culture grown on glycerol, which promotes active oxidative phosphorylation in the mitochondria, facilitated the functioning of powerful antioxidant systems (catalases, superoxide dismutases, and glutathione system enzymes) induced by reactive oxidative species. Moreover, it stimulated NADPH synthesis, regulating the cytosolic reduced glutathione level, which in turn determines the redox potential of the yeast cell during the early aging process.
  • Weber, Marion; Chernov, Konstantin; Turakainen, Hilkka; Wohlfahrt, Gerd; Pajunen, Maria; Savilahti, Harri; Jantti, Jussi (2010)
  • Thompson, Kyle; Majd, Homa; Dallabona, Christina; Reinson, Karit; King, Martin S.; Alston, Charlotte L.; He, Langping; Lodi, Tiziana; Jones, Simon A.; Fattal-Valevski, Aviva; Fraenkel, Nitay D.; Saada, Ann; Haham, Alon; Isohanni, Pirjo; Vara, Roshni; Barbosa, Ines A.; Simpson, Michael A.; Deshpande, Charu; Puusepp, Sanna; Bonnen, Penelope E.; Rodenburg, Richard J.; Suomalainen, Anu; Ounap, Katrin; Elpeleg, Orly; Ferrero, Ileana; McFarland, Robert; Kunji, Edmund R. S.; Taylor, Robert W. (2016)
    Mutations in SLC25A4 encoding the mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier AAC1 are well-recognized causes of mitochondrial disease. Several heterozygous SLC25A4 mutations cause adult-onset autosomal-dominant progressive external ophthalmoplegia associated with multiple mitochondrial DNA deletions, whereas recessive SLC25A4 mutations cause childhood-onset mitochondrial myopathy and cardiomyopathy. Here, we describe the identification by whole-exome sequencing of seven probands harboring dominant, de novo SLC25A4 mutations. All affected individuals presented at birth, were ventilator dependent and, where tested, revealed severe combined mitochondria' respiratory chain deficiencies associated with a marked loss of mitochondria' DNA copy number in skeletal muscle. Strikingly, an identical c.239G>A (p.Arg80His) mutation was present in four of the seven subjects, and the other three case subjects harbored the same c.703C>G (p.Arg235Gly) mutation. Analysis of skeletal muscle revealed a marked decrease of AAC1 protein levels and loss of respiratory chain complexes containing mitochondria' DNA-encoded subunits. We show that both recombinant AAC1 mutant proteins are severely impaired in ADP/ATP transport, affecting most likely the substrate binding and mechanics of the carrier, respectively. This highly reduced capacity for transport probably affects mitochondria' DNA maintenance and in turn respiration, causing a severe energy crisis. The confirmation of the pathogenicity of these de novo SLC25A4 mutations highlights a third distinct clinical phenotype associated with mutation of this gene and demonstrates that early-onset mitochondria' disease can be caused by recurrent de novo mutations, which has significant implications for the application and analysis of whole-exome sequencing data in mitochondrial disease.