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Functional characterization of two novel purine transporters from the Basidiomycota Phanerochaete chrysosporium

Barraco-Vega, Mariana, Romero, Héctor, Richero, Mariana, Cerdeiras, María Pía, Cecchetto, Gianna
Gene 2017 v.601 pp. 1-10
Aspergillus nidulans, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, Zygomycota, adenine, amino acids, ammonium, energy metabolism, genes, hypoxanthine, microscopy, monophyly, mycelium, nitrogen, plasma membrane, transporters, urea, uric acid, white-rot fungi, xanthine
Purine transporters as substrate entry points in organisms, are involved in a number of cellular processes such as nitrogen source uptake, energy metabolism and synthesis of nucleic acids.In this study, two nucleobase transporter genes (phZ, phU) from Phanerochaete chrysosporium were cloned, identified, and functionally characterized. Our results show that PhZ is a transporter of adenine and hypoxanthine, and a protein belonging to the AzgA-like family, whilst PhU belongs to the NAT/NCS2 family, transporting xanthine and uric acid. No other sequences belonging to these families were detected in P. chrysosporium's genome. Phylogenetic analyses show that AzgA-like sequences form monophyletic groups for each major lineage (Ascomycota, Basidiomycota and Zygomycota). In contrast, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota NAT/NCS2 sequences do not form monophyletic groups and several copies of this protein are distributed across the tree. Expression of phU was significantly downregulated in the presence of a primary source like ammonium, and enhanced if purines were present or if the mycelium was nitrogen starved. phZ was clearly induced by its substrates (hypoxanthine, adenine), very lightly induced by xanthine, suppressed by urea and amino acids and expressed at a basal level when uric acid or ammonium was the nitrogen source or when the mycelium was starved for nitrogen. In order to perform substrate analyses, both P. chrysosporium proteins (PhZ, PhU) were expressed in Aspergillus nidulans. Epifluorescent microscopy showed that under inducing conditions, PhZ-GFP and PhU-GFP were present at the plasma membrane of A. nidulans transformed strains, and were internalized in repressed conditions.Our results suggest that in the white-rot fungus P. chrysosporium, phU has a catabolic role and phZ, (less dependent of the nitrogen source), plays a key role in purine acquisition to provide biosynthetic components. These are the first purine transporters characterized in Basidiomycota.