Regulation of chitin synthesis during dimorphic growth of Candida albicans

C. A. Munro, D. A. Schofield, G. W. Gooday, N. A.R. Gow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Candida albicans has three genes encoding chitin synthase enzymes. In wild-type strains, the expression of CHS2 and CHS3 peaked 1-2 h after the induction of hyphal growth, whilst mRNA levels in a non-germinative strain, CA2, remained low under the same conditions, CHS1 gene expression did not peak during germ tube formation but remained at low levels in both yeast and hyphal growth. The pattern of gene expression did not predict the changes in measured chitin synthase activities or changes in chitin content during dimorphic transition. Chitin synthase activity increased steadily, and did not peak shortly after germ tube induction, and activity profiles were similar in germ-tube-competent and germ-tube-negative strains. The phenotype of a Δchs2 null mutant suggested that CHS2 encoded the major enzyme activity in vitro and was largely responsible for elevated chitin synthase activities in microsomal preparations from hyphal cells compared to yeast cells. However, CaChs3p was responsible for synthesis of most chitin in both yeast and hyphae. Three independent chitin assays gave markedly different estimates of the relative chitin content of yeast and hyphae and wild-type and chs mutants. Only one of the methods gave a significantly higher chitin content for hyphal compared to yeast cell walls and a lower chitin content for hyphae of the Δchs2 null mutant compared to the parental strain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-401
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998


  • Candida albicans
  • Chitin
  • Chitin synthase
  • Dimorphism
  • Gene expression


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