Regulatory role of ambient pH in the expression of pathogenicity determinant gene products of Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae
Qazi, Sohail Shahid
Entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) are the one of the potential cause of the morbidity and mortality of insects. In agro-forestry uses, they are applied mainly in the form of conidial preparations in dry, aqueous or oil formulations. This approach, while practical, works in a hit and miss fashion leading to a frustrating dilemma of why successes and failure perpetuate. The fundamental solution is to bridge gaps in our knowledge about conidia of EPF in varied environments where they confront a diversity of insect hosts to start their pathogenesis.This thesis was undertaken to examine the effects of hydration and the regulatory role of ambient pH on proteases which are the primary pathogenicity determinants in Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae. The approaches used were those of biochemical, proteomics and functional proteomics. Novel aspects of pH regulation/homeostasis during the soaking of conidia in water, (type II water, which had a maximum electrical conductivity of 1ìS/ cm at 298K/ 25° C) were identified. Hydrated conidia showed swelling in type II water as assessed by (Multisizer IIITM (Coulter CounterTM). Release of proteases, metabolic activity through liberation of ammonia and citrate and synthesis of protein, RNA and DNA was established. It was deduced that conidial enzymes are either attached by loose hydrogen bonding or were associated to the spore membranes. Water soaked or hydrated conidia can secrete citrate and ammonia to modify the ambient pH and maximize the activity of secreted proteases. Pr1- and- Pr2-like proteases were liberated by washing conidia in tween (Tw), water (Ww) and buffer. The washing of conidia in buffers (pH 4-10) affected the release/activity of Pr1 and Pr2. The thesis shows a newly designed native IPG strip zymography to identify the release of 4 and 8 isoforms of proteases, respectively from conidia. The 2-DE zymography (copolymerized gelatin) of protease from Tw of B. bassiana and M. anisopliae indicated one band (Mr 70 kDa; pI 6.3) and six isozymes (Mr 115-129 kDa; pI 3.7-9.0), respectively, which were identified using mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) as a serine-like protease. Six metalloprotease isozymes from M. anisopliae but only one from B. bassiana was documented by 1-DE native zymography combined with 2-D spot densitometry scans. Cationic PAGE native zymography separated two basic protease isozymes from Tw extract of M. anisopliae depending upon the pH of the incubation buffer. However, one activity band was identified from B. bassiana. Furthermore, only one activity band was apparent during 1st and 2nd Ww up to day 2 for both EPF. SDS PAGE (non-dissociating) zymogram of secreted protease isozymes from Tw of B. bassiana revealed three bands of Mr100, 60, and 36.3 kDa. The isozymes observed at day 2 and 3 had a Mrs of 35.4 and 25 kDa, and 24.7 and 20.3 kDa at day 4. The SDS PAGE zymograms for M. anisopliae indicated two isozymes of Mr 103 and 12 kDa, respectively. During the 1st Ww and incubation of spores at day 2 and 3, a 12 kDa band was observed. These results confirm the presence of diversity of proteases and their isozymes with unique molecular sizes.This thesis research discovered and characterized a diversity of proteins/enzymes not previously reported from any other fungi. A newly designed enzyme overlay membrane (EOM) technique revealed three isoforms of Pr1-like subtilisin from Tw of M. anisopliae (pI 8.1-9.7) and B. bassiana (pI 8.4-9.7). Conversely, only one isoform of Pr2-like trypsin was identified from M. anisopliae and no Pr2-like activity was observed from B. bassiana. Use of metalloprotease (MEP) inhibitors in conjunction with EOM analysis revealed their release during treatment in Tw. In M. anisopliae four activities (pI 4.4-7.5) of thermolysin-like MEP were observed. However, Tw of B. bassiana showed one activity band (pI 5.5). In addition, an isozyme of neutral MEP containing Zinc from M. anisopliae (pI 6.1) and one from B. bassiana (pI 6.5-7.6), respectively, was identified. MALDI-TOF and Q-TOF analysis revealed the presence of proteins similar to ROD 1, Ü- and â-glucanases, elastase, lipase 5 and galectin 7, which are important during the initial phase of germination and pathogenesis. In addition subtilisin (Pr1-like), trypsin (Pr2-like) and NAGase synthesis from the germinating conidia and mycelia under the supply of different carbon and nitrogen (C/ N) sources was studied. The regulation of the synthesis of cuticle-degrading enzymes (CDE) from germinating conidia and mycelia was hypothesized to be controlled through regulatory derepression and nutritional starvation. Pr1 and Pr2 are regulated in a different manner in conidia and mycelia. Both enzymes are regulated through a multiple control mode. It was concluded that C/ N repression occurs only when it is necessary for infective structures to establish a nutritional relationship with the host cuticular structures. In addition, C/ N sources have a significant effect upon pH modulation, ammonia production and protease secretion. Furthermore, the synthesis of Pr1 and Pr2 from germinating conidia was affected by the (inducer pH) pHi of the growth media. Growing mycelia of B. bassiana under acidic (4.0), neutral (7.0) and basic (11.0) pH conditions produce ammonia which modifies the pH thereby creating environments suitable for protease. Growth, morphology, radial extension rate and conidiation at different pHi revealed that both EPF modify the pH of growth medium effectively as opposed to the saprophytic fungus, Aspergillus nidulans. The presence of MEPs and Pr2-like trypsin suggests that these enzymes can act as a back up system for Pr1 to breach the cuticle and facilitate penetration before appressoria formation. The diversity of isozymes released from conidia suggests that the EPF are pre-adapted to pathogenic mode of life style, further contributing complexity to their interaction with host insects. Such isozymes can circumvent protease inhibitors present in the insect cuticle and the hemolymph. In addition, these isozymes may offer selective advantages in exploring new habitats (substrates) either as pathogen or saprophyte.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
DepartmentApplied Microbiology and Food Science
ProgramApplied Microbiology and Food Science
SupervisorKhachatourians, George G.
CommitteeClassen, Henry L. (Hank); Boyetchko, Susan M.; Bidochka, M. J.; Banniza, Sabine; Korber, Darren R.; Tyler, Robert T. (Bob)
Ambient pH regulation