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BMC Microbiol. 2012 Sep 7;12:194. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-12-194.

Characterization and ligand identification of a membrane progesterone receptor in fungi: existence of a novel PAQR in Sporothrix schenckii.

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Department of Microbiology and Medical Zoology, Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan PR, USA.



Adaptive responses in fungi result from the interaction of membrane receptors and extracellular ligands. Many different classes of receptors have been described in eukaryotic cells. Recently a new family of receptors classified as belonging to the progesterone-adiponectin receptor (PAQR) family has been identified. These receptors have the seven transmembrane domains characteristic of G-protein coupled receptors, but their activity has not been associated directly to G proteins. They share sequence similarity to the eubacterial hemolysin III proteins.


A new receptor, SsPAQR1 (Sporothrix schenckii progesterone-adiponectinQ receptor1), was identified as interacting with Sporothrix schenckii G protein alpha subunit SSG-2 in a yeast two-hybrid assay. The receptor was identified as a member of the PAQR family. The cDNA sequence revealed a predicted ORF of 1542 bp encoding a 514 amino acids protein with a calculated molecular weight of 57.8 kDa. Protein domain analysis of SsPAQR1 showed the 7 transmembrane domains (TM) characteristic of G protein coupled receptors and the presence of the distinctive motifs that characterize PAQRs. A yeast-based assay specific for PAQRs identified progesterone as the agonist. S. schenckii yeast cells exposed to progesterone (0.50 mM) showed an increase in intracellular levels of 3', 5' cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) within the first min of incubation with the hormone. Different progesterone concentrations were tested for their effect on the growth of the fungus. Cultures incubated at 35°C did not grow at concentrations of progesterone of 0.05 mM or higher. Cultures incubated at 25°C grew at all concentrations tested (0.01 mM-0.50 mM) with growth decreasing gradually with the increase in progesterone concentration.


This work describes a receptor associated with a G protein alpha subunit in S. schenckii belonging to the PAQR family. Progesterone was identified as the ligand. Exposure to progesterone increased the levels of cAMP in fungal yeast cells within the first min of incubation suggesting the connection of this receptor to the cAMP signalling pathway. Progesterone inhibited the growth of both the yeast and mycelium forms of the fungus, with the yeast form being the most affected by the hormone.

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