A lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase-like protein functions in fungal copper import and meningitis.
Infection by the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans causes lethal meningitis, primarily in immune-compromised individuals. Colonization of the brain by C. neoformans is dependent on copper (Cu) acquisition from the host, which drives critical virulence mechanisms. While C. neoformans Cu+
import and virulence are dependent on the Ctr1 and Ctr4 proteins, little is known concerning extracellular Cu ligands that participate in this process. We identified a C. neoformans gene, BIM1, that is strongly induced during Cu limitation and which encodes a protein related to lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs). Surprisingly, bim1 mutants are Cu deficient, and Bim1 function in Cu accumulation depends on Cu2+
coordination and cell-surface association via a glycophosphatidyl inositol anchor. Bim1 participates in Cu uptake in concert with Ctr1 and expression of this pathway drives brain colonization in mouse infection models. These studies demonstrate a role for LPMO-like proteins as a critical factor for Cu acquisition in fungal meningitis.
Garcia-Santamarina, S; Probst, C; Festa, RA; Ding, C; Smith, AD; Conklin, SE; Brander, S; Kinch, LN; Grishin, NV; Franz, KJ; Riggs-Gelasco, P; Lo Leggio, L; Johansen, KS; Thiele, DJ
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