Phosphoglucose Isomerase Plays a Key Role in Sugar Homeostasis, Stress Response, and Pathogenicity in Aspergillus flavus
Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2021 Dec 15;11:777266. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2021.777266. eCollection 2021.
Aspergillus flavus is one of the important human and plant pathogens causing not only invasive aspergillosis in immunocompromised patients but also crop contamination resulting from carcinogenic aflatoxins (AFs). Investigation of the targeting factors that are involved in pathogenicity is of unmet need to dismiss the hazard. Phosphoglucose isomerase (PGI) catalyzes the reversible conversion between glucose-6-phosphate and fructose-6-phosphate, thus acting as a key node for glycolysis, pentose phosphate pathway, and cell wall biosynthesis in fungi. In this study, we constructed an A. flavus pgi deletion mutant, which exhibited specific carbon requirement for survival, reduced conidiation, and slowed germination even under optimal experimental conditions. The Δpgi mutant lost the ability to form sclerotium and displayed hypersusceptibility to osmotic, oxidative, and temperature stresses. Furthermore, significant attenuated virulence of the Δpgi mutant was documented in the Caenorhabditis elegans infection model, Galleria mellonella larval model, and crop seeds. Our results indicate that PGI in A. flavus is a key enzyme in maintaining sugar homeostasis, stress response, and pathogenicity of A. flavus. Therefore, PGI is a potential target for controlling infection and AF contamination caused by A. flavus.