The rice seedling blight fungus Rhizopus microsporus and its endosymbiont Burkholderia rhizoxinica form an unusual, highly specific alliance to produce the highly potent antimitotic phytotoxin rhizoxin. Yet, it has remained a riddle how bacteria invade into the fungal cells. Genome mining for potential symbiosis factors and functional analyses revealed that a type 2 secretion system (T2SS) of the bacterial endosymbiont is required for the formation of the endosymbiosis. Comparative proteome analyses show that the T2SS releases chitinolytic enzymes (chitinase, chitosanase) and chitin-binding proteins. The genes responsible for chitinolytic proteins and T2SS components are highly expressed during infection. Through targeted gene knock-outs, sporulation assays and microscopic investigations we found that chitinase is essential for bacteria to enter hyphae. Unprecedented snapshots of the traceless bacterial intrusion were obtained using cryo-electron microscopy. Beyond unveiling the pivotal role of chitinolytic enzymes in the active invasion of a fungus by bacteria, these findings grant unprecedented insight into the fungal cell wall penetration and symbiosis formation.
- Thorsten Nürnberger, University of Tübingen, Germany
© 2014, Moebius et al.
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Bacteria and fungal cells join forces to cause rice seedling blight.
Chlamydia trachomatis (Ctr) can persist over extended times within their host cell and thereby establish chronic infections. One of the major inducers of chlamydial persistence is interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) released by immune cells as a mechanism of immune defence. IFN-γ activates the catabolic depletion of L-tryptophan (Trp) via indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), resulting in persistent Ctr. Here, we show that IFN-γ induces the downregulation of c-Myc, the key regulator of host cell metabolism, in a STAT1-dependent manner. Expression of c-Myc rescued Ctr from IFN-γ-induced persistence in cell lines and human fallopian tube organoids. Trp concentrations control c-Myc levels most likely via the PI3K-GSK3β axis. Unbiased metabolic analysis revealed that Ctr infection reprograms the host cell tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle to support pyrimidine biosynthesis. Addition of TCA cycle intermediates or pyrimidine/purine nucleosides to infected cells rescued Ctr from IFN-γ-induced persistence. Thus, our results challenge the longstanding hypothesis of Trp depletion through IDO as the major mechanism of IFN-γ-induced metabolic immune defence and significantly extends the understanding of the role of IFN-γ as a broad modulator of host cell metabolism.