Two-Component Signaling Regulates Osmotic Stress Adaptation via SskA and the High-Osmolarity Glycerol MAPK Pathway in the Human Pathogen Talaromyces marneffei
AuthorBoyce, KJ; Cao, C; Andrianopoulos, A
PublisherAMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY
AffiliationSchool of BioSciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBoyce, K. J., Cao, C. & Andrianopoulos, A. (2016). Two-Component Signaling Regulates Osmotic Stress Adaptation via SskA and the High-Osmolarity Glycerol MAPK Pathway in the Human Pathogen Talaromyces marneffei. MSPHERE, 1 (1), https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00086-15.
Access StatusOpen Access
NHMRC Grant codeNHMRC/1006839
For successful infection to occur, a pathogen must be able to evade or tolerate the host's defense systems. This requires the pathogen to first recognize the host environment and then signal this response to elicit a complex adaptive program in order to activate its own defense strategies. In both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, two-component signaling systems are utilized to sense and respond to changes in the external environment. The hybrid histidine kinases (HHKs) at the start of the two-component signaling pathway have been well characterized in human pathogens. However, how these HHKs regulate processes downstream currently remains unclear. This study describes the role of a response regulator downstream of these HHKs, sskA, in Talaromyces marneffei, a dimorphic human pathogen. sskA is required for asexual reproduction, hyphal morphogenesis, cell wall integrity, osmotic adaptation, and the morphogenesis of yeast cells both in vitro at 37°C and during macrophage infection, but not during dimorphic switching. Comparison of the ΔsskA mutant with a strain in which the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) of the high-osmolarity glycerol pathway (SakA) has been deleted suggests that SskA acts upstream of this pathway in T. marneffei to regulate these morphogenetic processes. This was confirmed by assessing the amount of phosphorylated SakA in the ΔsskA mutant, antifungal resistance due to a lack of SakA activation, and the ability of a constitutively active sakA allele (sakA(F316L) ) to suppress the ΔsskA mutant phenotypes. We conclude that SskA regulates morphogenesis and osmotic stress adaptation in T. marneffei via phosphorylation of the SakA MAPK of the high-osmolarity glycerol pathway. IMPORTANCE This is the first study in a dimorphic fungal pathogen to investigate the role of a response regulator downstream of two-component signaling systems and its connection to the high-osmolarity glycerol pathway. This study will inspire further research into the downstream components of two-component signaling systems and their role during pathogenic growth.
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