The ability of Candida albicans, the most common human fungal pathogen, to transition from yeast to hyphae is essential for pathogenicity. While a variety of transcription factors important for filamentation have been identified and characterized, links between transcriptional regulators of C. albicans morphogenesis and molecular mechanisms that drive hyphal growth are not well defined. We have previously observed that constitutive expression of UME6, which encodes a filament-specific transcriptional regulator, is sufficient to direct hyphal growth in the absence of filament-inducing conditions. Here we show that HGC1, encoding a cyclinrelated protein necessary for hyphal growth under filament-inducing conditions, is specifically important for agar invasion, hyphal extension, and formation of true septa in response to constitutive UME6 expression under non-filament-inducing conditions. HGC1-dependent inactivation of Rga2, a Cdc42 GTPase activating protein (GAP), also appears to be important for these processes. In response to filament-inducing conditions, HGC1 is induced prior to UME6 although UME6 controls the level and duration of HGC1 expression, which are likely to be important for hyphal extension. Interestingly, an epistasis analysis suggests that UME6 and HGC1 play distinct roles during early filament formation. These findings establish a link between a key regulator of filamentation and a downstream mechanism important for hyphal formation. In addition, this study demonstrates that a strain expressing constitutive high levels of UME6 provides a powerful strategy to specifically dissect downstream mechanisms important for hyphal development in the absence of complex filament-inducing conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology