Immunoscreening of a Candida albicans expression library resulted in the isolation of a novel gene encoding a 32.9-kDa polypeptide (288 amino acids), with 27.7% homology to the product of Saccharomyces cerevisiae YGR106c, a putative vacuolar protein. Heterozygous mutants in this gene displayed an altered budding growth pattern, characterized by the formation of chains of buds, decreasingly in size towards the apex, without separation of the daughter buds. Consequently, this gene was designated ABG1. A conditional mutant for ABG1 with the remaining allele under the control of the MET3 promoter did not grow in the presence of methionine and cysteine, demonstrating that ABG1 was essential for viability. Western analysis revealed the presence of a major 32.9-kDa band, mainly in a particulate fraction (P40) enriched in vacuoles, and tagging with green fluorescent protein confirmed that Abg1p localized to the vacuole. Vacuole inheritance has been linked to the regulation of branching frequency in C. albicans. Under repressing conditions, the conditional mutant had an increased frequency of branching under hyphal inducing conditions and an altered sensitivity to substances that interfered with cell wall assembly. Repression of ABG1 in the conditional mutant strain caused disturbance of normal size and number of vacuoles both in yeast and mycelial cells and also in the asymmetric vacuole inheritance associated with the characteristic pattern of germ tubes and branching in C. albicans. These observations indicate that ABG1 plays a key role in vacuole biogenesis, cytokinesis, and hyphal branching.
- GERM TUBE FORMATION
- YEAST VACUOLE