Fusarium verticillioides is one of the most important fungal pathogens causing ear and stalk rot in maize, even if frequently asymptomatic, producing a harmful series of compounds named fumonisins. Plant and fungal oxylipins play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the interaction between the pathogen and its host. Moreover, oxylipins result as signals able to modulate the secondary metabolism in fungi. In keeping with this, a novel, quantitative LC-MS/MS method was designed to quantify up to 17 different oxylipins produced by F. verticillioides and maize kernels. By applying this method, we were able to quantify oxylipin production in vitro - F. verticillioides grown into Czapek-Dox/yeast extract medium amended with 0.2% w/v of cracked maize - and in vivo, i.e. during its growth on detached mature maize ears. This study pinpoints the role of oxylipins in a plant pathogen such as F. verticillioides and sets up a novel tool aimed at understanding the role oxylipins play in mycotoxigenic pathogens during their interactions with respective hosts.
In some filamentous fungi, the pathways related to the oxidative stress and oxylipins production are involved both in the process of host-recognition and in the pathogenic phase. In fact, recent studies have shown that the production of oxylipins in filamentous fungi, yeasts and chromists is also related to the development of the organism itself and to mechanisms of communication with the host at the cellular level. The oxylipins, also produced by the host during defense reactions, are able to induce sporulation and to regulate the biosynthesis of mycotoxins in several pathogenic fungi. In A. flavus, the oxylipins play a crucial role as signals for regulating the biosynthesis of aflatoxins, the conidiogenesis and the formation of sclerotia. To investigate the involvement of an oxylipins based cross-talk into Z. mays and A. flavus interaction, we analyzed the oxylipins profile of the wild type strain and of three mutants of A. flavus that are deleted at the Aflox1 gene level also during maize kernel invasion. A lipidomic approach has been addressed through the use of LC-ToF-MS, followed by a statistical analysis of the principal components (PCA). The results showed the existence of a difference between the oxylipins profile generated by the WT and the mutants onto challenged maize. In relation to this, aflatoxin synthesis which is largely hampered in vitro, is intriguingly restored. These results highlight the important role of maize oxylipin in driving secondary metabolism in A. flavus.
Aspergillus flavus is a cosmopolitan fungus able to respond to external stimuli and to shift both its trophic behaviour and the production of secondary metabolites, including that of the carcinogen aflatoxin (AF). To better understand the adaptability of this fungus, we examined genetic and phenotypic responses within the fungus when grown under four conditions that mimic different ecological niches ranging from saprophytic growth to parasitism. Global transcription changes were observed in both primary and secondary metabolism in response to these conditions, particularly in secondary metabolism where transcription of nearly half of the predicted secondary metabolite clusters changed in response to the trophic states of the fungus. The greatest transcriptional change was found between saprophytic and parasitic growth, which resulted in expression changes in over 800 genes in A. flavus. The fungus also responded to growth conditions, putatively by adaptive changes in conidia, resulting in differences in their ability to utilize carbon sources. We also examined tolerance of A. flavus to oxidative stress and found that growth and secondary metabolism were altered in a superoxide dismutase (sod) mutant and an alkyl-hydroperoxide reductase (ahp) mutant of A. flavus. Data presented in this study show a multifaceted response of A. flavus to its environment and suggest that oxidative stress and secondary metabolism are important in the ecology of this fungus, notably in its interaction with host plant and in relation to changes in its lifestyle (i.e. saprobic to pathogenic).
In Aspergillus nidulans, Aspergillus flavus, and Aspergillus parasiticus, lipoperoxidative signalling is crucial for the regulation of mycotoxin biosynthesis, conidiogenesis, and sclerotia formation. Resveratrol, which is a lipoxygenase (LOX) and cyclooxygenase inhibitor, downmodulates the biosynthesis of ochratoxin A (OTA) in Aspergillus ochraceus. In the genome of A. ochraceus, a lox-like sequence (AoloxA; National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) accession number: DQ087531) for a lipoxygenase-like enzyme has been found, which presents high homology (100 identities, 100 positives %, score 555) with a lox gene of Aspergillus fumigatus (NCBI accession number: XM741370). To study how inhibition of oxylipins formation may affect the A. ochraceus metabolism, we have used a DeltaAoloxA strain. This mutant displays a different colony morphology, a delayed conidia formation, and a high sclerotia production. When compared to the wild type, the DeltaAoloxA strain showed a lower basal activity of LOX and diminished levels of 13-hydroperoxylinoleic acid (HPODE) and other oxylipins derived from linoleic acid. The limited oxylipins formation corresponded to a remarkable inhibition of OTA biosynthesis in the DeltaAoloxA strain. Also, wheat seeds (Triticum durum cv Ciccio) inoculated with the DeltaAoloxA mutant did not accumulate 9-HPODE, which is a crucial element in the host defence system. Similarly, the expression of the pathogenesis-related protein 1 (PR1) gene in wheat seeds was not enhanced. The results obtained contribute to the current knowledge on the role of lipid peroxidation governed by the AoloxA gene in the morphogenesis, OTA biosynthesis, and in host-pathogen interaction between wheat seeds and A. ochraceus.
In filamentous fungi, peroxisomes are crucial for the primary metabolism and play a pivotal role in the formation of some secondary metabolites. Further, peroxisomes are important site for fatty acids ?-oxidation, the formation of reactive oxygen species and for their scavenging through a complex of antioxidant activities. Oxidative stress is involved in different metabolic events in all organisms and it occurs during oxidative processes within the cell, including peroxisomal ?-oxidation of fatty acids. In Aspergillus flavus, an unbalance towards an hyper-oxidant status into the cell is a prerequisite for the onset of aflatoxin biosynthesis. In our preliminary results, the use of bezafibrate, inducer of both peroxisomal ?-oxidation and peroxisome proliferation in mammals, significantly enhanced the expression of pex11 and foxA and stimulated aflatoxin synthesis in A. flavus. This suggests the existence of a correlation among peroxisome proliferation, fatty acids ?-oxidation and aflatoxin biosynthesis. To investigate this correlation, A. flavus was transformed with a vector containing P33, a gene from Cymbidium ringspot virus able to induce peroxisome proliferation, under the control of the promoter of the Cu,Zn-sod gene of A. flavus. This transcriptional control closely relates the onset of the antioxidant response to ROS increase, with the proliferation of peroxisomes in A. flavus. The AfP33 transformant strain show an up-regulation of lipid metabolism and an higher content of both intracellular ROS and some oxylipins. The combined presence of a higher amount of substrates (fatty acids-derived), an hyper-oxidant cell environment and of hormone-like signals (oxylipins) enhances the synthesis of aflatoxins in the AfP33 strain. The results obtained demonstrated a close link between peroxisome metabolism and aflatoxin synthesis.
Among the various factors correlated with toxin production in fungi, oxidative stress is a crucial one. In relation to this, an important role is played by oxidative stress-related receptors. These receptors can transduce the "oxidative message" to the nucleus and promote a transcriptional change targeted at restoring the correct redox balance in the cell. In Aspergillus parasiticus, the knockout of the ApyapA gene, a homologue of the yeast Yap-1, disables the funguss capacity to restore the correct redox balance in the cell. As a consequence, the onset of secondary metabolism and aflatoxins synthesis is triggered. Some clues as to the involvement of oxidative stress in the regulation of ochratoxin A (OTA) synthesis in Aspergillus ochraceus have already been provided by the disruption of the oxylipin-producer AoloxA gene. In this paper, we add further evidence that oxidative stress is also involved in the regulation of OTA biosynthesis in A. ochraceus. In fact, the use of certain oxidants and, especially, the deletion of the yap1-homologue Aoyap1 further emphasize the role played by this stress in controlling metabolic and morphological changes in A. ochraceus.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.