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The photolyases PHR1 and PHR2 enable photorepair of fungal DNA lesions in the forms of UV-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD) and (6-4)-pyrimidine-pyrimidone (6-4PP) photoproducts, but their regulation remains mechanistically elusive. Here, we report that the white collar proteins WC1 and WC2 mutually interacting to form a light-responsive transcription factor regulate photolyase expression required for fungal UV resistance in the insect-pathogenic fungus Metharhizum robertsii. Conidial UVB resistance decreased by 54% in Δwc1 and 67% in Δwc2. Five-hour exposure of UVB-inactivated conidia to visible light resulted in photoreactivation rates of 30% and 9% for the Δwc1 and Δwc2 mutants, contrasting to 79%-82% for wild-type and complemented strains. Importantly, abolished transcription of phr1 in Δwc-2 and of phr2 in Δwc1 resulted in incapable photorepair of CDP and 6-4PP DNA lesions in UVB-impaired Δwc2 and Δwc1 cells respectively. Yeast two-hybrid assays revealed interactions of either WC protein with both PHR1 and PHR2. Therefore, the essential roles for WC1 and WC2 in both photorepair of UVB-induced DNA lesions and photoreactivation of UVB-inactivated conidia rely upon their interactions with, and hence transcriptional activation of, PHR1 and PHR2. These findings uncover a novel WC-cored pathway that mediates filamentous fungal response and adaptation to solar UV irradiation. © 2021 Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Han Peng, Chong-Tao Guo, Sen-Miao Tong, Sheng-Hua Ying, Ming-Guang Feng. Two white collar proteins protect fungal cells from solar UV damage by their interactions with two photolyases in Metarhizium robertsii. Environmental microbiology. 2021 Jan 12

PMID: 33438355

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