Signaling through adenylyl cyclase is essential for hyphal growth and virulence in the pathogenic fungus candida albicans

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TypeArticle
Journal titleMolecular Biology of the Cell
Volume12
Issue11
Pages36313643; # of pages: 13
Subjectgenome; pha
AbstractThe human fungal pathogen Candida albicans switches from a budding yeast form to a polarized hyphal form in response to various external signals. This morphogenetic switching has been implicated in the development of pathogenicity. We have cloned the CaCDC35 gene encoding C. albicans adenylyl cyclase by functional complementation of the conditional growth defect of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells with mutations in Ras1p and Ras2p. It has previously been shown that these Ras homologues regulate adenylyl cyclase in yeast. The C. albicans adenylyl cyclase is highly homologous to other fungal adenylyl cyclases but has less sequence similarity with the mammalian enzymes. C. albicans cells deleted for both alleles of CaCDC35 had no detectable cAMP levels, suggesting that this gene encodes the only adenylyl cyclase in C. albicans. The homozygous mutant cells were viable but grew more slowly than wild-type cells and were unable to switch from the yeast to the hyphal form under all environmental conditions that we analyzed in vitro. Moreover, this morphogenetic switch was completely blocked in mutant cells undergoing phagocytosis by macrophages. However, morphogenetic switching was restored by exogenous cAMP. On the basis of epistasis experiments, we propose that CaCdc35p acts downstream of the Ras homologue CaRas1p. These epistasis experiments also suggest that the putative transcription factor Efg1p and components of the hyphal-inducing MAP kinase pathway depend on the function of CaCdc35p in their ability to induce morphogenetic switching. Homozygous cacdc35[Delta] cells were unable to establish vaginal infection in a mucosal membrane mouse model and were avirulent in a mouse model for systemic infections. These findings suggest that fungal adenylyl cyclases and other regulators of the cAMP signaling pathway may be useful targets for antifungal drugs.
Publication date
Linkhttp://www.molbiolcell.org/cgi/content/abstract/12/11/3631
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada; NRC Biotechnology Research Institute
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number44794
NPARC number12328854
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Record identifier47b6f5d2-0025-4475-9787-d5ec469f60ca
Record created2009-09-10
Record modified2016-06-01
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