Background: Important biological processes require selective and orderly protein-protein interactions at every level of the signalling cascades. G proteins are a family of heterotrimeric GTPases that effect eukaryotic signal transduction through the coupling of cell surface receptors to cytoplasmic effector proteins. They have been associated with growth and pathogenicity in many fungi through gene knock-out studies. In Sporothrix schenckii, a pathogenic, dimorphic fungus, we previously identified a pertussis sensitive G alpha subunit, SSG-1. In this work we inquire into its interactions with other proteins.
Results: Using the yeast two-hybrid technique, we identified protein-protein interactions between SSG-1 and other important cellular proteins. The interactions were corroborated using co-immuneprecipitation. Using these techniques we identified a Fe/Mn superoxide dismutase (SOD), a glyceraldehyde-3-P dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and two ion transport proteins, a siderophore-iron transporter belonging to the Major Facilitator Superfamily (MFS) and a divalent-cation transporter of the Nramp (natural resistance-associated macrophage protein) family as interacting with SSG-1. The cDNA's encoding these proteins were sequenced and bioinformatic macromolecular sequence analyses were used for the correct classification and functional assignment.
Conclusions: This study constitutes the first report of the interaction of a fungal G alpha inhibitory subunit with SOD, GAPDH, and two metal ion transporters. The identification of such important proteins as partners of a G alpha subunit in this fungus suggests possible mechanisms through which this G protein can affect pathogenicity and survival under conditions of environmental stress or inside the human host. The two ion transporters identified in this work are the first to be reported in S. schenckii and the first time they are identified as interacting with fungal G protein alpha subunits. The association of G protein alpha subunits to transport molecules reinforces the role of G proteins in the response to environmental signals and also highlights the involvement of fungal G protein alpha subunits in nutrient sensing in S. schenckii. These interactions suggest that these permeases could function as transceptors for G proteins in fungi.