Carnitine in yeast and filamentous fungi

Swiegers, Jan Hendrik (2003-12)

Dissertation (PhD)--University of Stellenbosch, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevtstee, two biochemical pathways ensure that activated cytoplasmic or peroxisomal acetyl-groups are made available for mitochondrial energy production when the cells utilise non-fermentable carbon sources. The first pathway is the glyoxylate cycle, where two activated acetyl-groups are incorporated into each cycle, which releases a C4 intermediate. This intermediate is then transported to the mitochondria where it can enter the tricarboxylic acid cycle. The second pathway is the carnitine shuttle. Activated acetyl-groups react with carnitine to form acetylcarnitine, which is then transported to the mitochondria where the acetyl group is transferred. In this study it was shown that the deletion of the glyoxylate cycle specific citrate synthase, encoded by CIT2, results in a strain that is dependent on carnitine for growth on non-fermentable carbon sources. Using a /::"cit2 strain, mutants affected in carnitine-dependent metabolic activities were generated. Complementation of the mutants with a genomic library resulted in the identification of four genes involved in the carnitine shuttle. These include: (i) the mitochondrial and peroxisomal carnitine acetyltransferase, encoded by CAT2; (ii) the outer-mitochondrial carnitine acetyltransferase, encoded by YA T1; (iii) the mitochondrial carnitine translocase, encoded by CRC1; and (iv) a newly identified carnitine acetyltransferase, encoded by YAT2. All three carnitine acetyltransferases are essential in a carnitine-dependent strain. The dependence on exogenous carnitine of the /::"cit2 strain when grown on nonfermentable carbon sources suggested that S. cerevisiae does not biosynthesise carnitine. Measurements using electrospray mass spectrometry confirmed this hypothesis. As a result an investigation was initiated into carnitine biosynthesis in order to genetically engineer a S. cerevisiae strain that could endogenously biosynthesise carnitine. The filamentous fungus, Neurospora crassa, was one of the first organisms used in the seventies to identify the precursor and intermediates of carnitine biosynthesis. However, it was only about twenty years later that the first genes encoding these enzymes where characterised. Carnitine biosynthesis is a four-step process, which starts with trimethyllysine as precursor. Trimethyllysine is converted to hydroxytrimethyllysine by the enzyme trimethyllysine hydroxylase (TMLH). Hydroxytrimethyllysine is cleaved to trimethylamino-butyraldehyde by the hydroxytrimethyllysine aldolase (HTMLA) releasing glycine. Trimethylaminobutyraldehyde is dehydrogenated to trimethylamino-butyrate (y-butyrobetaine) by trimethylamino-butyraldehyde dehydrogenase (TMABA-DH). In the last step, ybutyrobetaine is converted to t-carnltine by y-butyrobetaine hydroxylase (BBH). The N. crassa TMLH homologue was identified in the genome database based on the protein sequence homology of the human TMLH. Due to the high amount of introns predicted for this gene, the cDNA was cloned and subjected to sequencing, which then revealed that the gene indeed had seven introns. Functional expression of the gene in S. cerevisiae and subsequent enzymatic analysis revealed that the gene coded for a TMLH. It was therefore named cbs-1 for "carnitine biosynthesis gene no. 1JJ. Most of the kinetic parameters were similar to that of the human TMLH enzyme. Following this, a genomic copy of the N. crassa BBH homologue was cloned and functionally expressed in S. cerevisiae. Biochemical analysis revealed that the BBH enzyme could biosynthesise L-carnitine from y-butyrobetaine and the gene was named cbs-2. In addition, the gene could rescue the growth defect of the carnitinedependent Scii? strain on non-fermentable carbon sources when y-butyrobetaine was present. This is the first report of an endogenously carnitine biosynthesising strain of S. cerevisiae. The cloning of the remaining two biosynthesis genes presents particular challenges. To date, the HTMLA has not been characterised on the molecular level making the homology-based identification of this protein in N. crassa impossible. Although the TMABA-DH has been characterised molecularly, the protein sequence is conserved for its function as a dehydrogenase and not conserved for its function in carnitine biosynthesis, as in the case of TMLH and BBH. The reason for this is probably due to the fact that the enzyme is involved in other metabolic processes. The use of N. crassa carnitine biosynthesis mutants would probably be one way in which to overcome these obstacles. The !1cit2 mutant proved useful in studying carnitine related metabolism. We therefore searched for suppressors of !1cit2, which resulted in the cloning of RAS2. In S. cerevisiae, two genes encode Ras proteins, RAS1 and RAS2. GTP-bound Ras proteins activate adenylate cyclase, Cyr1 p, which results in elevated cAMP levels. The cAMP molecules bind to the regulatory subunit of the cAMP-dependent kinase (PKA), Bcy1 p, thereby releasing the catalytic subunits Tpk1 p, Tpk2p and Tpk3p. The catalytic subunits phosphorylate a variety of regulators and enzymes involved in metabolism. Overexpression of RAS2 could suppress the growth defect of the Sclt? mutant on glycerol. In general, overexpression of RAS2 enhanced the proliferation of wild-type cells grown on glycerol. However, the enhancement of proliferation was much better for the !1cit2 strain grown on glycerol. In this respect, the retrograde response may play a role. Overexpression of RAS2 resulted in elevated levels of intracellular citrate and citrate synthase activity. It therefore appears that the suppression of !1cit2 by RAS2 overexpression is a result of the general upregulation of the respiratory capacity and possible leakage of citrate and/or citrate synthase from the mitochondria. The phenotype of RAS2 overexpression contrasts with the hyperactive RAS2val19 allele, which causes a growth defect on glycerol. However, both RAS2 overexpression and RAS2val19activate the cAMP/PKA pathway, but the RAS2val19dependent activation is more severe. Finally, this study implicated the Ras/cAMP/PKA pathway in the proliferation effect on glycerol by showing that in a Mpk1 strain, the growth effect is blocked. However, the enhanced proliferation was still observed in the Mpk2 and Mpk3 strains when RAS2 was overexpressed. Therefore, it seems that Tpk1 p plays an important role in growth on non-fermentable carbon sources, a notion that is supported by the literature.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In die gis Saccharomyces cerevtstee, is daar twee metaboliese weë waarmee geaktiveerde asetielgroepe na die mitochondrium vervoer kan word wanneer die sel op nie-fermenteerbare koolstofbronne groei. Die een weg is die glioksilaatsiklus, waar die geaktiveerde asetielgroepe geïnkorporeer word in die siklus en dan vrygestel word as Ca-intermediêre. Hierdie intermediêre word dan na die mitochondrium vervoer waar dit in die trikarboksielsuursiklus geïnkorporeer word. Die ander weg is die karnitiensiklus, waar geaktiveerde asetielgroepe met karnitien reageer om asetielkarnitien te vorm wat dan na die mitochondrium vervoer word waar dit die asetielgroep weer vrygestel. Hierdie studie het getoon dat die delesie van die glioksilaatsiklus spesifieke sitraatsintetase, gekodeer deur CIT2, die gisras afhanklik maak van karnitien vir groei op nie-fermenteerbare koolstofbronne. Deur gebruik te maak van 'n ócit2 gisras, kon mutante, wat geaffekteer is in karnitien-verwante metaboliese aktiwiteite, gegenereer word. Komplementering van die mutante met 'n genomiese biblioteek het gelei tot die identifisering van vier gene betrokke by die karnitiensiklus. Hierdie gene sluit in: (i) die mitochondriale en die peroksisomale karnitienasetieltransferase, gekodeer deur CAT2; (ii) die buite-mitochondriale karnitienasetieltransferase, gekodeer deur YAT1; (iii) die mitochondriale karnitientranslokase, gekodeer deur CRC1; en (iv) 'n nuutgeïdentifiseerde karnitienasetieltransferase, gekodeer deur YAT2. Daar benewens, is ook gewys dat al drie karnitienasetieltransferases noodsaaklik is in 'n karriltienafhanklike gisras. Die afhanklikheid van eksogene karnitien van die ócit2 gisras, wanneer dit gegroei word op nie-fermenteerbare koolstofbronne, was aanduidend dat S. cerevisiae nie karnitien kan biosintetiseer nie. Metings deur middel van elektronsproeimassaspektrometrie het hierdie veronderstelling bevestig. Gevolglik is 'n ondersoek deur ons geïnisieer in die veld van karnitienbiosintese om 'n S. cerevisiae gisras geneties te manipuleer om karnitien sodoende endogenies te biosintetiseer. Die filamentagtige fungus, Neurospora crassa, was een van die eerste organismes wat in die sewentiger jare gebruik is om die voorloper en intermediêre van karnitienbiosintese te identifiseer. Dit was egter eers sowat twintig jaar later dat die eerste gene wat vir hierdie ensieme kodeer, gekarakteriseer is. Karnitienbiosintese is 'n vierstap-proses wat met trirnetlellisten as voorloper begin. Trimetiellisien word omgeskakel na hidroksi-trimetiellisien deur die ensiem trimetiellisienhidroksilase (TMLH). Hidroksietrimetlelllsien word dan gesplits om trimetielaminobuteraldehied te vorm deur die werking van die hidroksitrimetiellisienaldolase (HTMLA) met die gevolglike vrystelling van glisien. Trimetielaminobuteraldehied word dan na trimetielaminobuteraat (y-butirobeteïen) deur trimetielaminobuteraldehied dehidrogenase (TMABA-DH) gedehidrogeneer. In die laaste stap word y-butirobeteïen deur middel van die y-butirobeteïen hidroksilase (BBH) na L-karnitien omgeskakel. Op grond van die proteïenvolgordehomologie in die genoomdatabasis tussen die menslike TMLH en N. crassa se TMLH is laasgenoemde geïdentifiseer. As gevolg van die groot getal introns wat vir hierdie geen voorspel is, is die cDNA-weergawe daarvan gekloneer en aan volgordebepaling onderwerp. Dit het getoon dat die geen inderdaad sewe introns bevat. Funksionele uitdrukking van die geen in S. cerevisiae en ensiematiese analise het getoon dat die geen vir 'n TMLH kodeer en is gevolglik cbs-1 genoem; dit staan vir "karnitien biosintese geen no. 1tt. Meeste van die kinetiese parameters was ook soortgelyk aan die van die menslike TMLH-ensiem. Hierna is 'n genomiese kopie van N. crassa se BBH-homoloog gekloneer en funksioneel in S. cerevisiae uitgedruk. Biochemiese analise het getoon dat die uitgedrukte BBH-ensiem L-karnitien vanaf y-butirobeteïen kan biosintetiseer en die geen is cbs-2 genoem. Daar benewens kon die geen die groeidefek van die karnitien-afhanklike tlcit2-gisras ophef wanneer dit op nie-fermenteerbare koolstofbronne in die teenwoordigheid van y-butirobeteïen aangekweek is. Hierdie is die eerste verslag oor 'n endogeniese karnitien-biosintetiserende ras van S. cerevisiae. Die klonering van die oorblywende twee karnitienbiosintetiserende gene het sekere uitdagings. Tot op datum, is die HTMLA nog nie tot op genetiese vlak gekarakteriseer nie, wat dan die homologie-gebaseerde identifikasie van hierdie proteïen in N. crassa onmoontlik maak. Alhoewel die TMABA-DH geneties gekarakteriseer is, is die proteïenvolgorde ten opsigte van sy funksie as 'n dehidrogenase gekonserveer, maar nie vir sy funksie in karnitienbiosintese soos in die geval van TMLH en BBH nie. Die rede hiervoor is moontlik omdat die ensiem ook in ander metaboliese prosesse betrokke is. Die gebruik van N. crassa karnitienmutante sal moontlik een manier wees om hierdie probleme te oorkom. Die tlcit2-mutant het handig te pas gekom vir die bestudering van karnitienverwante metabolisme. Dus is daar vir onderdrukkers van die tlcit2-mutant gesoek wat gelei het tot die klonering van die RAS2-geen. In S. cere visiae , kodeer twee gene vir Ras-proteïene, RAS1 en RAS2. GTP-gebonde Ras-proteïene aktiveer adenilaatsiklase, Cyr1 p, wat verhoogde intrasellulêre cAMP-vlakke tot gevolg het. Die cAMP bind aan die regulatoriese subeenheid van die cAMP-proteïenkinase (PKA), Bcy1 p, en daardeur word die katalitiese subeenhede, Tpk1 p, Tpk2p en Tpk3p, vrygestel. Die katalitiese subeenheid fosforileer 'n verskeidenheid van reguleerders en ensieme betrokke by metabolisme. Ooruitdrukking van RAS2 het die groeidefek van die tlcit2-mutant op gliserolonderdruk. Oor die algemeen, verbeter die ooruitdrukking van RAS2 die proliferasie van die wildetipe op gliserol bevattende media. Alhoewel, die verbetering van proliferasie was baie meer opmerklik in die tlcit2-gisras. In hierdie verband, speel die gedegenereerde response dalk 'n rol. Ooruitdrukking van RAS2 het verhoogde intrasellulêre vlakke van sitraat- en sitraatsintetase-aktiwiteit tot gevolg gehad. Dit wou dus voorkom asof die onderdrukking van die ócit2-groeidefek deur RAS2 se ooruitdrukking die gevolg was van algemene opreguiering van respiratoriese kapasiteit en die lekkasie van sitraat en/of sitraatsintetase uit die mitochondria. Die fenotipe van RAS2 ooruitdrukking kontrasteer die hiperaktiewe RAS2va / 19 alleel, wat 'n groeidefek op gliserol media veroorsaak. Alhoewel beide RAS2-00ruitdrukking en RAS2va / 19 die cAMP/PKA-weg aktiveer, is gevind dat die RAS2va/19-afhanklike aktivering strenger is. Ten slotte, die cAMP/PKA-weg is in die proliferasie effek op gliserol media geïmpliseer deur te wys dat in 'n Mpk1-gisras, die groeieffek geblokkeer is. Alhoewel, die verbeterde proliferasie is steeds waargeneem in die Mpk2-en Mpk3-gisrasse toe die RAS2-geen ooruitgedruk is. Dus, dit wil voorkom asof Tpk1 p 'n belangrike rol in die groei van gisselle op nie-fermenteerbare koolstofbronne speel; 'n veronderstelling wat deur die literatuur ondersteun word.

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