Reis FCG, Borges BS, Jozefowicz LJ, Sena BAG, Garcia AWA, Medeiros LC, Martins ST, Honorato L, Schrank A, Vainstein MH, Kmetzsch L, Nimrichter L, Alves LR, Staats CC, Rodrigues ML. A Novel Protocol for the Isolation of Fungal Extracellular Vesicles Reveals the Participation of a Putative Scramblase in Polysaccharide Export and Capsule Construction in Cryptococcus gattii. mSphere. 2019 Mar 20;4(2):e00080-19.
Regular protocols for the isolation of fungal extracellular vesicles (EVs) are time-consuming, hard to reproduce, and produce low yields. In an attempt to improve the protocols used for EV isolation, we explored a model of vesicle production after growth of Cryptococcus gattii and Cryptococcus neoformans on solid media. Nanoparticle tracking analysis in combination with transmission electron microscopy revealed that C. gattii and C. neoformans produced EVs in solid media. The properties of cryptococcal vesicles varied according to the culture medium used and the EV-producing species. EV detection was reproduced with an acapsular mutant of C. neoformans, as well as with isolates of Candida albicans, Histoplasma capsulatum, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Cryptococcal EVs produced in solid media were biologically active and contained regular vesicular components, including the major polysaccharide glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) and RNA. Since the protocol had higher yields and was much faster than the regular methods used for the isolation of fungal EVs, we asked if it would be applicable to address fundamental questions related to cryptococcal secretion. On the basis that polysaccharide export in Cryptococcus requires highly organized membrane traffic culminating with EV release, we analyzed the participation of a putative scramblase (Aim25; CNBG_3981) in EV-mediated GXM export and capsule formation in C. gattii. EVs from a C. gattii aim25Δ strain differed from those obtained from wild-type (WT) cells in physical-chemical properties and cargo. In a model of surface coating of an acapsular cryptococcal strain with vesicular GXM, EVs obtained from the aim25Δ mutant were more efficiently used as a source of capsular polysaccharides. Lack of the Aim25 scramblase resulted in disorganized membranes and increased capsular dimensions. These results associate the description of a novel protocol for the isolation of fungal EVs with the identification of a previously unknown regulator of polysaccharide release.