There is an immediate need for identification of new antifungal targets in opportunistic pathogenic fungi like Candida albicans. In the past, efforts have focused on synthesis of chitin and glucan, which confer mechanical strength and rigidity upon the cell wall. This paper describes the molecular analysis of CaMNT1, a gene involved in synthesis of mannoproteins, the third major class of macromolecule found in the cell wall. CaMNT1 encodes an α- 1,2-mannosyl transferase, which adds the second mannose residue in a tri- mannose oligosaccharide structure which represents O-linked mannan in C. albicans. The deduced amino acid sequence suggests that CaMnt1p is a type II membrane protein residing in a medial Golgi compartment. The absence of CaMnt1p reduced the ability of C. albicans cells to adhere to each other, to human buccal epithelial cells, and to rat vaginal epithelial cells. Both heterozygous and homozygous Camnt1 null mutants of C. albicans showed strong attenuation of virulence in guinea pig and mouse models of systemic candidosis, which, in guinea pigs, could be attributed to a decreased ability to reach and/or adhere internal organs. Therefore, correct CaMnt1p-mediated O-linked mannosylation of proteins is critical for adhesion and virulence of C. albicans.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 23 Jun 1998|