A proteomic approach to identifying proteins differentially expressed in conidia and mycelium of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium acridum
Metarhizium spp. is an important worldwide group of entomopathogenic fungi used as an interesting alternative to chemical insecticides in programs of agricultural pest and disease vector control. Metarhizium conidia are important in fungal propagation and also are responsible for host infection. Despite their importance, several aspects of conidial biology, including their proteome, are still unknown. We have established conidial and mycelial proteome reference maps for Metarhizium acridum using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). In all, 1130 ± 102 and 1200 ± 97 protein spots were detected in ungerminated conidia and fast-growing mycelia, respectively. Comparison of the two protein-expression profiles reveled that only 35 % of the protein spots were common to both developmental stages. Out of 94 2-DE protein spots (65 from conidia, 25 from mycelia and two common to both) analyzed using mass spectrometry, seven proteins from conidia, 15 from mycelia and one common to both stages were identified. The identified protein spots exclusive to conidia contained sequences similar to known fungal stress-protector proteins (such as heat shock proteins (HSP) and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase) plus the fungal allergen Alt a 7, actin and the enzyme cobalamin-independent methionine synthase. The identified protein spots exclusive to mycelia included proteins involved in several cell housekeeping biological processes. Three proteins (HSP 90, 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase and allergen Alt a 7) were present in spots in conidial and mycelial gels, but they differed in their locations on the two gels.