Characterisation of Secreted Effector Proteins of Nosema ceranae, an Agent Associated with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Nosema ceranae, a microsporidian, has been given much attention in recent years as it has been linked with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which leads to the sudden deaths of honey bee colonies. It has been described that many pathogenic organisms secrete virulence factors in order to hijack its host`s cellular functions, but in most cases the underlying mechanisms of this process still remains to be deciphered. Cornman et al. (2009) have identified in N. ceranae a list of putative effector proteins (called secretome) destined to be secreted into the host, and I have taken this list for further investigation using a bioinformatical and experimental approaches. The principal aim of this project was to generate a N. ceranae ORFeome for genes predicted to be secreted, elucidate the function of effector candidates important for N. ceranae biology and/or pathogenicity, as well as to investigate any interactions between N. ceranae proteins and its host utilising two eukaryotic model organisms, budding yeast, S. cerevisiae, and fruit fly, D. melanogaster. A library of S. cerevisiae strains expressing N. ceranae proteins was generated utilising the Gateway® technology, and phenotypic and localisation screens were undertaken to investigate the N. ceranae secretome. Two N. ceranae ORFs, NcORF-15 (NcORF-02039) and NcORF-16 (NcORF-01159) encoding a putative thioredoxin and a hexokinase, respectively, were subjected to yeast complementation assays in order to assess their catalytic activity. NcORF-15, the putative thioredoxin, was able to rescue the sensitive phenotype of S. cerevisiae Δtrx2 under oxidative stress, whereas NcORF-16, the putative hexokinase, did not complement YSH7.4-3C, a triple knockout lacking hexokinase activity. A third N. ceranae effector candidate NcORF-4 (NcORF-00654), a putative proteasome subunit, was investigated for its nuclear localisation and protein interactions in both S. cerevisiae and D. melanogaster.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
PhD in Biological Sciences