A lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase-like protein functions in fungal copper import and meningitis

Sarela Garcia-Santamarina, Corinna Probst, Richard A. Festa, Chen Ding, Aaron D. Smith, Steven E. Conklin, Søren Brander, Lisa N. Kinch, Nick V. Grishin, Katherine J. Franz, Pamela Riggs-Gelasco, Leila Lo Leggio, Katja Salomon Johansen, Dennis J. Thiele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Infection by the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans causes lethal meningitis, primarily in immune-compromised individuals. Colonization of the brain by C. neoformans is dependent on copper (Cu) acquisition from the host, which drives critical virulence mechanisms. While C. neoformans Cu+ import and virulence are dependent on the Ctr1 and Ctr4 proteins, little is known concerning extracellular Cu ligands that participate in this process. We identified a C. neoformans gene, BIM1, that is strongly induced during Cu limitation and which encodes a protein related to lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs). Surprisingly, bim1 mutants are Cu deficient, and Bim1 function in Cu accumulation depends on Cu2+ coordination and cell-surface association via a glycophosphatidyl inositol anchor. Bim1 participates in Cu uptake in concert with Ctr1 and expression of this pathway drives brain colonization in mouse infection models. These studies demonstrate a role for LPMO-like proteins as a critical factor for Cu acquisition in fungal meningitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalNature chemical biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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