Table of contents

Volume 2, Issue 5, pp. 139 - 173, May 2015

Issue cover
Cover: The cover is an artistic expression of the discovery that Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a non-phytopathogen, produces cytokinins. Artwork by artist Magali Geney was modified by MIC. The cover is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Enlarge issue cover


Yeast as a model system to study metabolic impact of selenium compounds

Enrique Herrero and Ralf Erik Wellinger

page 139-149 | 10.15698/mic2015.05.200 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Inorganic Se forms such as selenate or selenite (the two more abundant forms in nature) can be toxic in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, which constitute an adequate model to study such toxicity at the molecular level and the functions participating in protection against Se compounds. Those Se forms enter the yeast cell through other oxyanion transporters. Once inside the cell, inorganic Se forms may be converted into selenide through a reductive pathway that in physiological conditions involves reduced glutathione with its consequent oxidation into diglutathione and alteration of the cellular redox buffering capacity. Selenide can subsequently be converted by molecular oxygen into elemental Se, with production of superoxide anions and other reactive oxygen species. Overall, these events result in DNA damage and dose-dependent reversible or irreversible protein oxidation, although additional oxidation of other cellular macromolecules cannot be discarded. Stress-adaptation pathways are essential for efficient Se detoxification, while activation of DNA damage checkpoint and repair pathways protects against Se-mediated genotoxicity. We propose that yeast may be used to improve our knowledge on the impact of Se on metal homeostasis, the identification of Se-targets at the DNA and protein levels, and to gain more insights into the mechanism of Se-mediated apoptosis.

Research Articles

Toxoplasma gondii inhibits cytochrome c-induced caspase activation in its host cell by interference with holo-apoptosome assembly

Kristin Graumann, Frieder Schaumburg, Thomas F. Reubold, Diana Hippe, Susanne Eschenburg and Carsten G. K. Lüder

page 150-162 | 10.15698/mic2015.05.201 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Inhibition of programmed cell death pathways of mammalian cells often facilitates the sustained survival of intracellular microorganisms. The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii is a master regulator of host cell apoptotic pathways. Here, we have characterized a novel anti-apoptotic activity of T. gondii. Using a cell-free cytosolic extract model, we show that T. gondii interferes with the activities of caspase 9 and caspase 3/7 which have been induced by exogenous cytochrome c and dATP. Proteolytic cleavage of caspases 9 and 3 is also diminished suggesting inhibition of holo-apoptosome function. Parasite infection of Jurkat T cells and subsequent triggering of apoptosome formation by exogenous cytochrome c in vitro and in vivo indicated that T. gondii also interferes with caspase activation in infected cells. Importantly, parasite inhibition of cytochrome c-induced caspase activation considerably contributes to the overall anti-apoptotic activity of T. gondii as observed in staurosporine-treated cells. Co-immunoprecipitation showed that T. gondii abolishes binding of caspase 9 to Apaf-1 whereas the interaction of cytochrome c with Apaf-1 remains unchanged. Finally, T. gondii lysate mimics the effect of viable parasites and prevents holo-apoptosome functionality in a reconstituted in vitro system comprising recombinant Apaf-1 and caspase 9. Beside inhibition of cytochrome c release from host cell mitochondria, T. gondii thus also targets the holo-apoptosome assembly as a second mean to efficiently inhibit the caspase-dependent intrinsic cell death pathway.

Research Reports

Exogenous folates stimulate growth and budding of Candida glabrata

Afsaneh Porzoor and Ian G. Macreadie

page 163-167 | 10.15698/mic2015.05.202 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Folate, vitamin B9, is well recognized as being essential for cell growth. The utilization of folate is common to all cells, but the source of it may be quite different. For example, mammalian cells depend on exogenous uptake of folates, while plants and microbes can synthesize them. There has been little consideration of uptake of folate in microbial cells, and studies on the effects of folates in mammalian cells, where conditions are restricted. This study shows that exogenous folates (folic acid or folinic acid), causes Candida glabrata cells suspended in water alone to undergo two cycles of cell division and to form multiple buds. The effect was limited to cells in the stationary phase and more profound in quiescent cells. These data indicate a novel response of yeast to folates that may increase the utility of yeast as a model to study folate transport and signaling.


Cytokinins beyond plants: synthesis by Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Marie I. Samanovic and K. Heran Darwin

page 168-170 | 10.15698/mic2015.05.203 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) resides mainly inside macrophages, which produce nitric oxide (NO) to combat microbial infections. Earlier studies revealed that proteasome-associated genes are required for M. tuberculosis to resist NO via a previously uncharacterized mechanism. Twelve years later, we elucidated the link between proteasome function and NO resistance in M. tuberculosis in Molecular Cell, 57 (2015), pp. 984–994. In a proteasome degradation-defective mutant, Rv1205, a homologue of the plant enzyme LONELY GUY (LOG) that is involved in the synthesis of phytohormones called cytokinins, accumulates and as a consequence results in the overproduction of cytokinins. Cytokinins break down into aldehydes that kill mycobacteria in the presence of NO. Importantly, this new discovery reveals for the first time that a mammalian bacterial pathogen produces cytokinins and leaves us with the question: why is M. tuberculosis, an exclusively human pathogen, producing cytokinins?

Understanding grapevine-microbiome interactions: implications for viticulture industry

Iratxe Zarraonaindia and Jack A. Gilbert

page 171-173 | 10.15698/mic2015.05.204 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Until recently, the analysis of complex communities such as that of the grapevine-microbe holobiont has been limited by the fact that most microbes are not culturable under laboratory conditions (less than 1%). However, metagenomics, the study of the genetic material recovered directly from environmental samples without the need for enrichment or of culturing, has led to open an unprecedented era in the field of microbiology. Importantly, this technological advance has now become so pervasive that it is being regularly applied to explore soils and plants of agricultural interest. Interestingly, many large companies are taking notice, with significant financial investment being used to exploring ways to manipulate the productivity, disease resistance and stress tolerance for crops by influencing the microbiome. To understand which microbes one needs to manipulate to influence this valuable characteristics, we need to sequence the microbiome and capture the genetic and hence functional metabolic information contained therein. For viticulture and other agricultural fields where the crop is also associated to particular flavor properties that may also be manipulated, understanding how the bacteria, fungi and viruses influence the development and hence chemical makeup of the crop is essential.