The cellular proteome is affected by a gelsolin (BbGEL1) during morphological transitions in aerobic surface versus liquid growth in the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana

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The gelsolin superfamily includes seven protein members: gelsolin, villin, adseverin, CapG, advillin, supervillin and flightless I. The gelsolin proteins are actin-binding proteins that contain three or six gelsolin-like domains, and they play important roles in remodelling actin dynamics and cellular processes in eukaryotes. The entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana expresses a unique CapG protein (BbGEL1) that contains three gelsolin-like domains. BbGEL1p is associated with actin during mycelial growth and plays an important role in fungal morphological transitions under both aerobic and submerged conditions. The ΔBbGEL1 mutant displays abnormal spore-producing structures that reduce the conidial and blastospore yields by approximately 70% and 90% respectively. The virulence of the ΔBbGEL1 mutant is notably reduced as indicated by topical and intrahemocoel injection assays. Two comparative proteomics analyses indicated that BbGEL1 has significantly different roles in the development of conidia and blastospores, and the results revealed the potential targets of BbGEL1 in the corresponding developmental processes. Additionally, as an overlapping downstream protein of BbGEL1, the hydrophobin-like protein gene BbHyd3 is required for conidiation but has a negative role in blastospore formation. Our findings indicate that in addition to its function as an actin-interacting protein, BbGEL1 contributes to fungal morphological transitions via broad genetic pathways.

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