Pathogenic yeasts and fungi are an increasing global healthcare burden, but discovery of novel antifungal agents is slow. The mycoparasitic yeast Saccharomycopsis schoenii was recently demonstrated to be able to kill the emerging multi-drug resistant yeast pathogen Candida auris. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the predatory activity of S. schoenii have not been explored. To this end, we de novo sequenced, assembled and annotated a draft genome of S. schoenii. Using proteomics, we confirmed that Saccharomycopsis yeasts have reassigned the CTG codon and translate CTG into serine instead of leucine. Further, we confirmed an absence of all genes from the sulfate assimilation pathway in the genome of S. schoenii, and detected the expansion of several gene families, including aspartic proteases. Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model prey cell, we honed in on the timing and nutritional conditions under which S. schoenii kills prey cells. We found that a general nutrition limitation, not a specific methionine deficiency, triggered predatory activity. Nevertheless, by means of genome-wide transcriptome analysis we observed dramatic responses to methionine deprivation, which were alleviated when S. cerevisiae was available as prey, and therefore postulate that S. schoenii acquired methionine from its prey cells. During predation, both proteomic and transcriptomic analyses revealed that S. schoenii highly upregulated and translated aspartic protease genes, probably used to break down prey cell walls. With these fundamental insights into the predatory behavior of S. schoenii, we open up for further exploitation of this yeast as a biocontrol yeast and/or source for novel antifungal agents.
Journal: PLoS pathogens