Neurospora crassa NADPH Oxidase NOX-1 Is Localized in the Vacuolar System and the Plasma Membrane

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The NADPH oxidases (NOX) catalyze the production of superoxide by transferring electrons from NADPH to O2, in a regulated manner. In Neurospora crassa NOX-1 is required for normal growth of hyphae, development of aerial mycelium and asexual spores, and it is essential for sexual differentiation and cell-cell fusion. Determining the subcellular localization of NOX-1 is a critical step in understanding the mechanisms by which this enzyme can regulate all these different processes. Using fully functional versions of NOX-1 tagged with mCherry, we show that in growing hyphae NOX-1 shows only a minor association with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) markers Ca2+-ATPase NCA-1 and an ER lumen-targeted GFP. Likewise, NOX-1 shows minor co-localization with early endosomes labeled with YPT-52, a GTPase of the Rab5 family. In contrast, NOX-1 shows extensive co-localization with two independent markers of the entire vacuolar system; the vacuolar ATPase subunit VMA-1 and the fluorescent molecule carboxy-DFFDA. In addition, part of NOX-1 was detected at the plasma membrane. The NOX-1 regulatory subunit NOR-1 displays a very different pattern of localization, showing a fine granular distribution along the entire hypha and some accumulation at the hyphal tip. In older hyphal regions, germinating conidia, and conidiophores it forms larger and discrete puncta some of which appear localized at the plasma membrane and septa. Notably, co-localization of NOX-1 and NOR-1 was mainly observed under conidial cell-cell fusion conditions in discrete vesicular structures. NOX functions in fungi have been evaluated mainly in mutants that completely lacked this protein, also eliminating interactions between hyphal growth regulatory proteins NOR-1, the GTPase RAC-1 and the scaffold protein BEM-1. To dissect NOX-1 roles as scaffold and as ROS-producing enzyme, we analyzed the function of NOX-1::mCherry proteins carrying proline 382 by histidine (P382H) or cysteine 524 by arginine (C524R) substitutions, predicted to only affect NADPH-binding. Without notably affecting NOX-1 localization or protein levels, each of these substitutions resulted in lack of function phenotypes, indicating that NOX-1 multiple functions are all dependent on its oxidase activity. Our results open new interpretations to possible NOX functions, as components of the fungal vacuolar system and the plasma membrane, as well as to new vacuolar functions.




Cano-Domínguez, N., Bowman, B., Peraza-Reyes, L., & Aguirre, J. (2019). Neurospora crassa NADPH Oxidase NOX-1 Is Localized in the Vacuolar System and the Plasma Membrane. Frontiers in Microbiology, 10.

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