Fluorescent protein expression in the ectomycorrhizal fungus Laccaria bicolor: a plasmid toolkit for easy use of fluorescent markers in basidiomycetes
Curr Genet. 2020 Mar 14 [Epub ahead of print]
Kemppainen M, Chowdhury J, Lundberg-Felten J, Pardo A

Abstract
For long time, studies on ectomycorrhiza (ECM) have been limited by inefficient expression of fluorescent proteins (FPs) in the fungal partner. To convert this situation, we have evaluated the basic requirements of FP expression in the model ECM homobasidiomycete Laccaria bicolor and established eGFP and mCherry as functional FP markers. Comparison of intron-containing and intronless FP-expression cassettes confirmed that intron-processing is indispensable for efficient FP expression in Laccaria. Nuclear FP localization was obtained via in-frame fusion of FPs between the intron-containing genomic gene sequences of Laccaria histone H2B, while cytosolic FP expression was produced by incorporating the intron-containing 5' fragment of the glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase encoding gene. In addition, we have characterized the consensus Kozak sequence of strongly expressed genes in Laccaria and demonstrated its boosting effect on transgene mRNA accumulation. Based on these results, an Agrobacterium-mediated transformation compatible plasmid set was designed for easy use of FPs in Laccaria. The four cloning plasmids presented here allow fast and highly flexible construction of C-terminal in-frame fusions between the sequences of interest and the two FPs, expressed either from the endogenous gene promoter, allowing thus evaluation of the native regulation modes of the gene under study, or alternatively, from the constitutive Agaricus bisporus gpdII promoter for enhanced cellular protein localization assays. The molecular tools described here for cell-biological studies in Laccaria can also be exploited in studies of other biotrophic or saprotrophic basidiomycete species susceptible to genetic transformation.

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