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The selective antifungal activity of Drosophila melanogaster metchnikowin reflects the species-dependent inhibition of succinate-coenzyme Q reductase

 
: Moghaddam, M.-R.B.; Gross, T.; Becker, A.; Vilcinskas, A.; Rahnamaeian, M.

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Scientific Reports 7 (2017), Art. 8192, 9 pp.
ISSN: 2045-2322
English
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IME ()

Abstract
Insect-derived antifungal peptides have a significant economic potential, particularly for the engineering of pathogen-resistant crops. However, the nonspecific antifungal activity of such peptides could result in detrimental effects against beneficial fungi, whose interactions with plants promote growth or increase resistance against biotic and abiotic stress. The antifungal peptide metchnikowin (Mtk) from Drosophila melanogaster acts selectively against pathogenic Ascomycota, including Fusarium graminearum, without affecting Basidiomycota such as the beneficial symbiont Piriformospora indica. Here we investigated the mechanism responsible for the selective antifungal activity of Mtk by using the peptide to probe a yeast two-hybrid library of F. graminearum cDNAs. We found that Mtk specifically targets the iron-sulfur subunit (SdhB) of succinate-coenzyme Q reductase (SQR). A functional assay based on the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activity of mitochondrial complex I I clearly demonstrated that Mtk inhibited the SDH activity of F. graminearum mitochondrial SQR by up to 52%, but that the equivalent enzyme in P. indica was unaffected. A phylogenetic analysis of the SdhB family revealed a significant divergence between the Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. SQR is one of the key targets of antifungal agents and we therefore propose Mtk as an environmentally sustainable and more selective alternative to chemical fungicides.

: http://publica.fraunhofer.de/documents/N-464404.html