Table of contents

Volume 5, Issue 1, pp. 1 - 62, January 2018

Issue cover
Cover: Scanning electron micrograph of red blood cells infected with Plasmodium falciparum. During its development, the parasite forms protrusions called 'knobs' on the surface of its host red blood cell, which enable it to avoid destruction and cause inflammation. The picture shows a knob-rich infected blood cell surrounded by knobless uninfected blood cells (image by Rick Fairhurst and Jordan Zuspann, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, USA); image modified by MIC. The cover is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. Enlarge issue cover

News and Thoughts

Exploring the mechanism of amebic trogocytosis: the role of amebic lysosomes

Allissia A. Gilmartin and William A. Petri, Jr

page 1-3 | 10.15698/mic2018.01.606 | Full text | PDF |


Guidelines and recommendations on yeast cell death nomenclature

Didac Carmona-Gutierrez, Maria Anna Bauer, Andreas Zimmermann, Andrés Aguilera, Nicanor Austriaco, Kathryn Ayscough, Rena Balzan, Shoshana Bar-Nun, Antonio Barrientos, Peter Belenky, Marc Blondel, Ralf J. Braun, Michael Breitenbach, William C. Burhans, Sabrina Büttner, Duccio Cavalieri, Michael Chang, Katrina F. Cooper, Manuela Côrte-Real, Vítor Costa, Christophe Cullin, Ian Dawes, Jörn Dengjel, Martin B. Dickman, Tobias Eisenberg, Birthe Fahrenkrog, Nicolas Fasel, Kai-Uwe Fröhlich, Ali Gargouri, Sergio Giannattasio, et al.

page 4-31 | 10.15698/mic2018.01.607 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Elucidating the biology of yeast in its full complexity has major implications for science, medicine and industry. One of the most critical processes determining yeast life and physiology is cellular demise. However, the investigation of yeast cell death is a relatively young field, and a widely accepted set of concepts and terms is still missing. Here, we propose unified criteria for the definition of accidental, regulated, and programmed forms of cell death in yeast based on a series of morphological and biochemical criteria. Specifically, we provide consensus guidelines on the differential definition of terms including apoptosis, regulated necrosis, and autophagic cell death, as we refer to additional cell death routines that are relevant for the biology of (at least some species of) yeast. As this area of investigation advances rapidly, changes and extensions to this set of recommendations will be implemented in the years to come. Nonetheless, we strongly encourage the authors, reviewers and editors of scientific articles to adopt these collective standards in order to establish an accurate framework for yeast cell death research and, ultimately, to accelerate the progress of this vibrant field of research.

Research Articles

The cytosolic glyoxalases of Plasmodium falciparum are dispensable during asexual blood-stage development

Cletus A. Wezena, Romy Alisch, Alexandra Golzmann, Linda Liedgens, Verena Staudacher, Gabriele Pradel and Marcel Deponte

page 32-41 | 10.15698/mic2018.01.608 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

The enzymes glyoxalase 1 and 2 (Glo1 and Glo2) are found in most eukaryotes and catalyze the glutathione-dependent conversion of 2-oxoaldehydes to 2-hydroxycarboxylic acids. Four glyoxalases are encoded in the genome of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, the cytosolic enzymes PfGlo1 and PfcGlo2, the apicoplast enzyme PftGlo2, and an inactive Glo1-like protein that also carries an apicoplast-targeting sequence. Inhibition or knockout of the Plasmodium glyoxalases was hypothesized to lead to an accumulation of 2-oxoaldehydes and advanced glycation end-products (AGE) in the host-parasite unit and to result in parasite death. Here, we generated clonal P. falciparum strain 3D7 knockout lines for PFGLO1 and PFcGLO2 using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. Although 3D7Δglo1 knockout clones had an increased susceptibility to external glyoxal, all 3D7Δglo1 and 3D7Δcglo2 knockout lines were viable and showed no significant growth phenotype under standard growth conditions. Furthermore, the lack of PfcGlo2, but not PfGlo1, increased gametocyte commitment in the knockout lines. In summary, PfGlo1 and PfcGlo2 are dispensable during asexual blood-stage development while the loss of PfcGlo2 may induce the formation of transmissible gametocytes. These combined data show that PfGlo1 and PfcGlo2 are most likely not suited as targets for selective drug development.

Alcohols enhance the rate of acetic acid diffusion in S. cerevisiae: biophysical mechanisms and implications for acetic acid tolerance

Lina Lindahl, Samuel Genheden, Fábio Faria-Oliveira, Stefan Allard, Leif A. Eriksson, Lisbeth Olsson, Maurizio Bettiga

page 42-55 | 10.15698/mic2018.01.609 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Microbial cell factories with the ability to maintain high productivity in the presence of weak organic acids, such as acetic acid, are required in many industrial processes. For example, fermentation media derived from lignocellulosic biomass are rich in acetic acid and other weak acids. The rate of diffusional entry of acetic acid is one parameter determining the ability of microorganisms to tolerance the acid. The present study demonstrates that the rate of acetic acid diffusion in S. cerevisiae is strongly affected by the alcohols ethanol and n-butanol. Ethanol of 40 g/L and n-butanol of 8 g/L both caused a 65% increase in the rate of acetic acid diffusion, and higher alcohol concentrations caused even greater increases. Molecular dynamics simulations of membrane dynamics in the presence of alcohols demonstrated that the partitioning of alcohols to the head group region of the lipid bilayer causes a considerable increase in the membrane area, together with reduced membrane thickness and lipid order. These changes in physiochemical membrane properties lead to an increased number of water molecules in the membrane interior, providing biophysical mechanisms for the alcohol-induced increase in acetic acid diffusion rate. n-butanol affected S. cerevisiae and the cell membrane properties at lower concentrations than ethanol, due to greater and deeper partitioning in the membrane. This study demonstrates that the rate of acetic acid diffusion can be strongly affected by compounds that partition into the cell membrane, and highlights the need for considering interaction effects between compounds in the design of microbial processes.


The logics of metabolic regulation in bacteria challenges biosensor-based metabolic engineering

Matthieu Jules

page 56-59 | 10.15698/mic2018.01.610 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Synthetic Biology (SB) aims at the rational design and engineering of novel biological functions and systems. By facilitating the engineering of living organisms, SB promises to facilitate the development of many new applications for health, biomanufacturing, and the environment. Over the last decade, SB promoted the construction of libraries of components enabling the fine-tuning of genetic circuits expression and the development of novel genome engineering methodologies for many organisms of interest. SB thus opened new perspectives in the field of metabolic engineering, which was until then mainly limited to (over)producing naturally synthesized metabolic compounds. To engineer efficient cell factories, it is key to precisely reroute cellular resources from the central carbon metabolism (CCM) to the synthetic circuitry. This task is however difficult as there is still significant lack of knowledge regarding both the function of several metabolic components and the regulation of the CCM fluxes for many industrially important bacteria. Pyruvate is a pivotal metabolite at the heart of the CCM and a key precursor for the synthesis of several commodity compounds and fine chemicals. Numerous bacterial species can also use it as a carbon source when present in the environment but bacterial, pyruvate-specific uptake systems were to be discovered. This is an issue for metabolic engineering as one can imagine to make use of pyruvate transport systems to replenish synthetic metabolic pathways towards the synthesis of chemicals of interest. Here we describe a recent study (MBio 8(5): e00976-17), which identified and characterized a pyruvate transport system in the Gram-positive (G+ve) bacterium Bacillus subtilis, a well-established biotechnological workhorse for the production of enzymes, fine chemicals and antibiotics. This study also revealed that the activity of the two-component system (TCS) responsible for its induction is retro-inhibited by the level of pyruvate influx. Following up on the open question which is whether this retro-inhibition is a generic mechanism for TCSs, we will discuss the implications in metabolic engineering.

A novel basolateral type IV secretion model for the CagA oncoprotein of Helicobacter pylori

Silja Wessler and Steffen Backert

page 60-62 | 10.15698/mic2018.01.611 | Full text | PDF | Abstract

Intercellular junctions are crucial structural elements for the formation and maintenance of epithelial barrier functions to control homeostasis or protect against intruding pathogens in humans. Alterations in these complexes represent key events in the development and progression of numerous cancers as well as multiple infectious diseases. Many bacterial pathogens harbor type IV secretion systems (T4SSs), which translocate virulence factors into host cells to hijack cellular processes. The pathology of the gastric pathogen and type-I carcinogen Helicobacter pylori strongly depends on a T4SS encoded by the cag pathogenicity island (cagPAI). This T4SS forms a needle-like pilus and its activity is accomplished by the pilus-associated factors CagL, CagI and CagY which target the host integrin-β1 receptor followed by injection of the CagA oncoprotein into non-polarized AGS gastric epithelial cells. The finding of a T4SS receptor, however, suggested the presence of a sophisticated control mechanism for the injection of CagA. In fact, integrins constitute a group of basolateral receptors, which are normally absent at apical surfaces of the polarized epithelium in vivo. Our new results demonstrate that T4SS-pilus formation during H. pylori infection of polarized epithelial cells occurs preferentially at basolateral sites, and not at apical membranes (Tegtmeyer et al., 2017). We propose a stepwise process how H. pylori interacts with components of intercellular tight junctions (TJs) and adherens junctions (AJs), followed by contacting integrin-based focal adhesions to disrupt and transform the epithelial cell layer in the human stomach. The possible impact of this novel signaling cascade on pathogenesis during infection is reviewed.

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