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Glutathione (g-L-glutamyl-L-cysteinyl-glycine; GSH) shares structural similarities with the b-lactam biosynthetic intermediate ACV-tripeptide {d-(L-a-aminoadipyl)-L-cysteinyl-D-valine}. Not surprisingly, GSH has been reported to inhibit the b-lactam biosynthetic machinery quite effectively and, hence, strategies to decrease the intracellular GSH concentrations without influencing negatively the physiological status of idiophasic mycelia would attract industrial interests. Here we present a detailed map of the GSH metabolic network of P. chrysogenum and show a promising way to keep the GSH pool selectively down under penicillin producing conditions. This procedure includes a well-controlled and transient lowering of pH at the beginning of the production phase, and it relies on the GSH-dependent detoxification of the protonophore penicillin side-chain precursors phenoxyacetic acid (POA) and phenylacetic acid (PA). Encouraging preliminary fed-batch fermentation experiments have been performed to test this technological proposal. Interestingly, the mechanism of the activation of POA and PA to the appropriate CoA derivatives has remained yet to be answered but the involvement of GSH seems to be rather unlikely in this case. Our data also challenge the hypothesis that the formation of different kinds of penicillins would be an alternative to GSH-dependent detoxification processes in P. chrysogenum.

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Relative transcriptions of Aspergillus nidulans dug1-3 (orthologes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae DUG — deficient in utilization of glutathione — pathway genes) and ggtA encoding γ-glutamyl transpeptidase were studied under conditions inducing glutathione degradation. GgtA was induced in all cases when glutathione levels decreased, but addition of yeast extract, which moderated glutathione degradation, enhanced its induction. Although dug2 showed constitutive transcription, dug1 and dug3 were induced by carbon and nitrogen starvation and yeast extract did not caused significant changes in their relative transcription. The in silico reconstructed DUG pathway of A. nidulans is a promising candidate for cytosolic GSH degradation induced by carbon/nitrogen stress.

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Extracellular proteinase production induced by carbon starvation was studied in a series of heterotrimeric G protein signaling pathway mutants of Aspergillus nidulans . All the mutants tested — including Δ fadA (G α ), ΔsfaD (G β ), ΔgpgA (G γ ) and ΔsfgA (regulator of FadA signaling) — showed an elevated proteinase production after glucose depletion. Our results strongly support the view that during growth, FadA/SfaD/GpgA G protein signaling inhibits proteinase production via both G α and G βγ subunits, and all conditions, which are not sufficient to support vegetative growth and, hence, inhibit this type of G protein signaling, elevate extracellular proteinase activities.

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Acta Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica
Authors: Fruzsina Bakti, Anita Király, Erzsébet Orosz, Márton Miskei, Tamás Emri, Éva Leiter, and István Pócsi

Yeast protein sequence-based homology search for glutathione (GSH) metabolic enzymes and GSH transporters demonstrated that Aspergillus nidulans has a robust GSH uptake and metabolic system with several paralogous genes. In wet laboratory experiments, two key genes of GSH metabolism, gcsA, and glrA, encoding γ-l-glutamyl-l-cysteine synthetase and glutathione reductase, respectively, were deleted. The gene gcsA was essential, and the ΔgcsA mutant required GSH supplementation at considerably higher concentration than the Saccharomyces cerevisiae gsh1 mutant (8–10 mmol l−1 vs. 0.5 μmol l−1). In addition to some functions known previously, both genes were important in the germination of conidiospores, and both gene deletion strains required the addition of extra GSH to reach wild-type germination rates in liquid cultures. Nevertheless, the supplementation of cultures with 10 mmol l−1 GSH was toxic for the control and ΔglrA strains especially during vegetative growth, which should be considered in future development of high GSH-producer fungal strains. Importantly, the ΔglrA strain was characterized by increased sensitivity toward a wide spectrum of osmotic, cell wall integrity and antimycotic stress conditions in addition to previously reported temperature and oxidative stress sensitivities. These novel phenotypes underline the distinguished functions of GSH and GSH metabolic enzymes in the stress responses of fungi.

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Acta Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica
Authors: Tamás Gáll, Gábor Lehoczki, Gyöngyi Gyémánt, Tamás Emri, Zsuzsa M. Szigeti, György Balla, József Balla, and István Pócsi

Siderophores are produced by a number of microbes to capture iron with outstandingly high affinity, which property also generates biomedical and industrial interests. Desferrioxamine E (DFO-E) secreted by streptomycetes bacteria can be an ideal candidate for iron chelation therapy, which necessitates its cost-effective production for in vitro and animal studies. This study focused on the optimization of DFO-E production by Streptomyces parvulus CBS548.68. Different combinations of various carbon and nitrogen sources as well as the addition of 3-morpholinopropane-1-sulfonic acid (MOPS) markedly affected DFO-E yields, which were attributed, at least in part, to the higher biomass productions found in MOPS-supplemented cultures. In MOPS-supplemented glucose and sodium glutamate medium, DFO-E productions as high as 2,009 ± 90 mg/l of culture medium were reached. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis demonstrated that a simple two-step purification process yielded DFO-E preparations with purities of ∼97%. Matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry analysis showed that purified DFO-E always contained traces of desferrioxamine D2.

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Acta Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica
Authors: Barbara Kovács, Nikoletta Hegedűs, Mihály Bálint, Zsuzsa Szabó, Tamás Emri, Gréta Kiss, Miklós Antal, István Pócsi, and Éva Leiter

PAF, which is produced by the filamentous fungus Pencicillium chrysogenum, is a small antifungal protein, triggering ROS-mediated apoptotic cell death in Aspergillus nidulans. In this work, we provide information on the function of PAF in the host P. chrysogenum considering that carbon-starving cultures of the Δpaf mutant strain showed significantly reduced apoptosis rates in comparison to the wild-type (wt) strain. Moreover, the addition of PAF to the Δpaf strain resulted in a twofold increase in the apoptosis rate. PAF was also involved in the regulation of the autophagy machinery of this fungus, since several Saccharomyces cerevisiae autophagy-related ortholog genes, e.g. those of atg7, atg22 and tipA, were repressed in the deletion strain. This phenomenon was accompanied by the absence of autophagosomes in the Δpaf strain, even in old hyphae.

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Acta Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica
Authors: Zsuzsa Szigeti, Szilvia Szaniszló, Erika Fazekas, Gyöngyi Gyémánt, Judit Szabon, Károly Antal, Tamás Emri, József Balla, György Balla, László Csernoch, and István Pócsi

Iron is an essential element for all microorganisms. Bacteria and fungi produce versatile siderophores for binding and storing this essential transition metal when its availability is limited in the environment. The aim of the study was to optimize the fermentation medium of Aspergillus fumigatus for siderophore production. Triacetyl-fusarinine C and ferricrocin yields were dependent on glucose and glycine supplementations as well as the initial pH of the culture media. The optimal fermentation medium for triacetylfusarinine C production contained 8% glucose, 0.4% glycine and the initial pH was set to 5.9. Meanwhile, maximal ferricrocin yields were recorded in the presence of 10% glucose, 0.5% glycine and at an initial pH of 7.4. Under optimized fermentation conditions, the yields for triacetylfusarinine C and ferricrocin increased up to 2.9 g/l culture medium and 18.9 mg/g mycelium, respectively.

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Acta Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica
Authors: Ágnes Jakab, Károly Antal, Tamás Emri, Imre Boczonádi, Alexandra Imre, Enikő Gebri, László Majoros, Walter Péter Pfliegler, Máté Szarka, György Balla, József Balla, and István Pócsi

Morphological transitions of wild-type and oxidative stress-tolerant Candida albicans strains were followed in the RPMI-FBS culture medium at pH values and CO2 levels characteristic for the anatomical niches inhabited by this opportunistic human pathogen fungus, including the oral cavity as well as the intestinal and vaginal lumens. Selected cultures were also supplemented with hemin modeling bleedings. Germination as well as elongation and branching of hyphae were monitored in the cultures using time-lapse video microscopy. Unexpectedly, branching time, which is defined as the time taken until the first branch of hypha emerges for the first time after germination, correlated well with alterations in the environmental conditions meanwhile no such correlations were found for germination time (time lasted until the appearance of the germination tube). Based on these observations, hypotheses were set up to estimate the significance of branching time in the pathogenesis of both superficial and systemic candidiases.

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