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Genetic regulation of the development of mating projections in Candida albicans.

  • Author(s): Liang, Weihong
  • Guan, Guobo
  • Li, Chao
  • Nobile, Clarissa J
  • Tao, Li
  • Huang, Guanghua
  • et al.
Abstract

Candida albicans is a major human fungal pathogen, capable of switching among a range of morphological types, such as the yeast form, including white and opaque cell types and the GUT (gastrointestinally induced transition) cell type, the filamentous form, including hyphal and pseudohyphal cell types, and chlamydospores. This ability is associated with its commensal and pathogenic life styles. In response to pheromone, C. albicans cells are able to form long mating projections resembling filaments. This filamentous morphology is required for efficient sexual mating. In the current study, we report the genetic regulatory mechanisms controlling the development of mating projections in C. albicans. Ectopic expression of MTLα1 in "a" cells induces the secretion of α-pheromone and promotes the development of mating projections. Using this inducible system, we reveal that members of the pheromone-sensing pathway (including the pheromone receptor), the Ste11-Hst7-Cek1/2 mediated MAPK signalling cascade, and the RAM pathway are essential for the development of mating projections. However, the cAMP/PKA signalling pathway and a number of key regulators of filamentous growth such as Hgc1, Efg1, Flo8, Tec1, Ume6, and Rfg1 are not required for mating projection formation. Therefore, despite the phenotypic similarities between filaments and mating projections in C. albicans, distinct mechanisms are involved in the regulation of these two morphologies.

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