Filament condition-specific response elements control the expression of NRG1 and UME6, key transcriptional regulators of morphology and virulence in Candida albicans

Delma Susan Childers, David Kadosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Candida albicans is the most frequently isolated human fungal pathogen and can cause a range of mucosal and systemic infections in immunocompromised individuals. Morphogenesis, the ability to undergo a reversible transition from budding yeast to elongated filaments, is an essential virulence trait. The yeast-to-filament transition is associated with expression of genes specifically important for filamentation as well as other virulence-related processes, and is controlled, in part, by the key transcriptional regulators Nrg1 and Ume6. Both of these regulators are themselves controlled at the transcriptional level by filament-inducing environmental cues, although little is known about how this process occurs. In order to address this question and determine whether environmental signals regulate transcription of UME6 and NRG1 via distinct and/or common promoter elements, we performed promoter deletion analyses. Strains bearing promoter deletion constructs were induced to form filaments in YEPD plus 10% serum at 37°C, Spider medium (nitrogen and carbon starvation) and/or Lee's medium pH 6.8 (neutral pH) and reporter gene expression was measured. In the NRG1 promoter we identified several distinct condition-specific response elements for YEPD plus 10% serum at 37°C and Spider medium. In the UME6 promoter we also identified response elements for YEPD plus 10% serum at 37°C. While a few of these elements are distinct, others overlap with those which respond to Lee's pH 6.8 medium. Consistent with UME6 possessing a very long 5' UTR, many response elements in the UME6 promoter are located significantly upstream from the coding sequence. Our data indicate that certain distinct condition-specific elements can control expression of C. albicans UME6 and NRG1 in response to key filament-inducing environmental cues. Because C. albicans encounters a variety of host microenvironments during infection, our results suggest that UME6 and NRG1 expression can be differentially modulated by multiple signaling pathways to control filamentation and virulence in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0122775
JournalPloS ONE
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2015

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