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Leonhardt, Yannik; Beck, Julia; Ebel, Frank (2016): Functional characterization of the Woronin body protein WscA of the pathogenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus. In: International Journal of Medical Microbiology, Vol. 306, No. 3: pp. 165-173
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Woronin bodies are fungal-specific organelles that seal damaged hyphal compartments and thereby contribute to the stress resistance and virulence of filamentous fungi. In this study, we have characterized the Aspergillus fumigatus Woronin body protein WscA. WscA is homologous to Neurospora crassa WSC, a protein that was shown to be important for biogenesis, segregation and positioning of Woronin bodies. WscA and WSC both belong to the Mpv17/PMP22 family of peroxisomal membrane proteins. An A. fumigatus Delta wscA mutant is unable to form Woronin bodies, and HexA, the protein that forms the crystal-like core of Woronin bodies, accumulates in large peroxisomes instead. The Delta wscA mutant showed no defect in segregation of HexA containing organelles, as has been reported for the corresponding N. crassa mutant. In the peroxisomes of the A. fumigatus mutant, HexA assembles into compact, donut-shaped structures. Experiments with GFP fusion proteins revealed that WscA function is highly sensitive to these modifications, in particular to an N-terminal fusion of GFP. In N. crassa, WSC was shown to be essentially required for Woronin body positioning, but the respective domain is not conserved in most other Pezizomycotina, including A. fumigatus. We have recently found evidence that HexA may have a direct role in WB positioning, since a HexA-GFP fusion protein, lacking a functional PTS1 motif, is efficiently recruited to the septal pore. In the current study we show that this targeting of HexA-GFP is independent of WscA. (C) 2016 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.