Yee-Seul So

Abstracts

2 Unravelling of the TOR Signaling Pathway in Human Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

Authors: Yong-Sun Bahn, Yee-Seul So, Guiseppe Ianiri, Alex Idnurm

Abstract:

Tor1 is a serine/threonine protein kinase that is widely conserved across eukaryotic species. Tor1 was first identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a target of rapamycin (TOR). The TOR pathway has been implicated in regulating cellular responses to nutrients, proliferation, translation, transcription, autophagy, and ribosome biogenesis. Here we identified two homologues of S. cerevisiae Tor proteins, CNAG_06642 (Tor1) and CNAG_05220 (Tlk1, TOR-like kinase 1), in Cryptococcus neoformans causing a life-threatening fungal meningoencephalitis. Both Tor1 and Tlk1 have rapamycin-binding (RB) domains but Tlk1 has truncated RB form. To study the TOR-signaling pathway in the fungal pathogen, we attempt to construct the tor1Δ and tlk1Δ mutants and phenotypically analyze them. Although we failed to construct the tor1Δ mutant, we successfully construct the tlk1Δ mutant. The tlk1Δ mutant does not exhibit any discernable phenotypes, suggesting that Tlk1 is dispensable in C. neoformans. The essentiality of TOR1 is independently confirmed by constructing the TOR1 promoter replacement strain by using a copper transporter 4 (CTR4) promoter and the TOR1/tor1 heterozygous mutant in diploid C. neoformans strain background followed by sporulation analysis. To further analyze the function of Tor1, we construct TOR1 overexpression mutant using a constitutively active histone H3 in C. neoformans. We find that the Tor1 overexpression mutant is resistant to rapamycin but the tlk1Δ mutant does not exhibit any altered resistance to rapamycin, further confirming that Tor1, but not Tlk1, is critical for TOR signaling. Furthermore, we found that Tor1 is involved in response to diverse stresses, including genotoxic stress, oxidative stress, thermo-stress, antifungal drug treatment, and production of melanin. To identify any TOR-related transcription factors, we screened C. neoformans transcription factor library that we constructed in our previous study and identified several potential downstream factors of Tor1, including Atf1, Crg1 and Bzp3. In conclusion, the current study provides insight into the role of the TOR signaling pathway in human fungal pathogens as well as C. neoformans.

Keywords: Transcription Factor, serine/threonine kinase, fungal pathogen, target of rapamycin

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1 Genome-Wide Functional Analysis of Phosphatase in Cryptococcus neoformans

Authors: Kyung-Tae Lee, Yong-Sun Bahn, Jae-Hyung Jin, Yee-Seul So, Eunji Jeong, Yeonseon Lee, Dongpil Lee, Dong-Gi Lee

Abstract:

Cryptococcus neoformans causes cryptococcal meningoencephalitis mainly in immunocompromised patients as well as immunocompetent people. But therapeutic options are limited to treat cryptococcosis. Some signaling pathways including cyclic AMP pathway, MAPK pathway, and calcineurin pathway play a central role in the regulation of the growth, differentiation, and virulence of C. neoformans. To understand signaling networks regulating the virulence of C. neoformans, we selected the 114 putative phosphatase genes, one of the major components of signaling networks, in the genome of C. neoformans. We identified putative phosphatases based on annotation in C. neoformans var. grubii genome database provided by the Broad Institute and National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and performed a BLAST search of phosphatases of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Aspergillus nidulans, Candida albicans and Fusarium graminearum to Cryptococcus neoformans. We classified putative phosphatases into 14 groups based on InterPro phosphatase domain annotation. Here, we constructed 170 signature-tagged gene-deletion strains through homologous recombination methods for 91 putative phosphatases. We examined their phenotypic traits under 30 different in vitro conditions, including growth, differentiation, stress response, antifungal resistance and virulence-factor production.

Keywords: Functional Genomics, human fungal pathogen, phosphatase, deletion library

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