3 years ago

Mechanisms of copper and zinc homeostasis in pathogenic black fungi

Black fungi comprise a diverse group of melanized microorganisms that can be found in a variety of environments, fact that makes some of them considered extremophiles. Many species are able to adapt and grow in humans, being responsible for infections that range from mild cutaneous injuries to fatal brain diseases in healthy individuals. Species belonging to Fonsecaea, Cladophialophora and Exophiala genera are among the most clinically relevant. One of the recognized diseases that arise with black fungi infection is chromoblastomycosis, a neglected implantation mycosis that can evolve to a granulomatous response with microabscess. Considering their ecology, black fungi may face conditions with distinct metal availability. Zinc and copper are essential transition metals, since they participate in a range of vital cellular processes by interaction with proteins. In excess, however, both ions become toxic. Thus, the balance between acquisition, utilization and storage of these micronutrients is essential for survival. During the interaction with host, fungi may face either metal deprivation or poisoning, in a process known as nutritional immunity. Here we report an in silico analysis of four black fungi species aiming to offer a broad view of the strategies putatively employed by these organisms to maintain zinc and copper homeostasis. Overall, these organisms share apparatus of metal uptake, storage, and detoxification with other pathogenic and non-pathogenic fungi. Genes coding plasma membrane and organelle transporters, as well as metal binding proteins were identified. Although putatives zinc and copper responsive transcription factors have been found in the analysed genomes, remarkable structural differences were perceived when compared to the already characterized regulators. Black fungi may harbour unique features concerning the regulation of zinc and copper homeostasis, which is probably a result of the niches they can inhabit. The data provided here add knowledge to a still unexplored aspect of black fungi biology that may be useful in the understanding of their biology and pathogenicity.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S1878614617301678

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