β-1,2-mannosylation of Candida albicans glycoconjugates has been investigated through the identification of enzymes involved in the addition of β-1,2-oligomannosides (β-Mans) to phosphopeptidomannan and phospholipomannan. β-1,2-oligomannosides are supposed to have virulence properties that they confer to these glycoconjugates. In a previous study, we showed that cell wall mannoproteins (CWMPs) harbor β-Mans in their O-mannosides; therefore, we analyzed their biosynthesis and impact on virulence. In this study, we demonstrate that O-mannans are heterogeneous and that α-mannosylated O-mannosides, which are biosynthesized by Mnt1 and Mnt2 α-1,2-mannosyltransferases, can be modified with β-Mans but only at the nonreducing end of α-1,2-mannotriose. β-1,2-mannosylation of this O-mannotriose depends on growth conditions, and it involves 2 β-1,2-mannosyltransferases, Bmt1 and Bmt3. These Bmts are essential for β-1,2-mannosylation of CWMPs and expression of β-Mans on germ tubes. A bmt1Δ mutant and a mutant expressing no β-Mans unexpectedly disseminated more in BALB/c mice, whereas they had neither attenuated nor enhanced virulence in C57BL/6 mice. In galectin (Gal)3 knockout mice, the reference strain was more virulent than in C57BL/6 mice, suggesting that the β-Mans innate receptor Gal3 is involved in C. albicans fitness during infection.
- Candida albicans
- fungal virulence