UME6, a novel filament-specific regulator of Candida albicans hyphal extension and virulence

Mohua Banerjee, Delma S. Thompson, Anna Lazzell, Patricia L. Carlisle, Christopher Pierce, Carlos Monteagudo, José L. López-Ribot, David Kadosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

146 Scopus citations

Abstract

The specific ability of the major human fungal pathogen Candida albicans, as well as many other pathogenic fungi, to extend initial short filaments (germ tubes) into elongated hyphal filaments is important for a variety of virulence-related processes. However, the molecular mechanisms that control hyphal extension have remained poorly understood for many years. We report the identification of a novel C. albicans transcriptional regulator, UME6, which is induced in response to multiple host environmental cues and is specifically important for hyphal extension. Although capable of forming germ tubes, the ume6Δ/ume6Δ mutant exhibits a clear defect in hyphal extension both in vitro and during infection in vivo and is attenuated for virulence in a mouse model of systemic candidiasis. We also show that UME6 is an important downstream component of both the RFG1-TUP1 and NRG1-TUP1 filamentous growth regulatory pathways, and we provide evidence to suggest that Nrg1 and Ume6 function together by a negative feedback loop to control the level and duration of filament-specific gene expression in response to inducing conditions. Our results suggest that hyphal extension is controlled by a specific transcriptional regulatory mechanism and is correlated with the maintenance of high-level expression of genes in the C. albicans filamentous growth program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1354-1365
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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