Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Published in Eukaryotic Cell (2013) 12(9): p. 1281-1292. DOI:10.1128/EC.00311-12


Copyright © 2013, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Quorum sensing by farnesol in Candida albicans inhibits filamentation and may be directly related to its ability to cause both mucosal and systemic diseases. The Ras1-cyclic AMP signaling pathway is a target for farnesol inhibition. However, a clear understanding of the downstream effectors of the morphological farnesol response has yet to be unraveled. To address this issue, we screened a library for mutants that fail to respond to farnesol. Six mutants were identified, and the czf1Δ/czf1Δ mutant was selected for further characterization. Czf1 is a transcription factor that regulates filamentation in embedded agar and also whiteto- opaque switching. We found that Czf1 is required for filament inhibition by farnesol under at least three distinct environmental conditions: on agar surfaces, in liquid medium, and when embedded in a semisolid agar matrix. Since Efg1 is a transcription factor of the Ras1-cyclic AMP signaling pathway that interacts with and regulates Czf1, an efg1Δ/efg1Δ czf1Δ/czf1Δ mutant was tested for filament inhibition by farnesol. It exhibited an opaque-cell-like temperature-dependent morphology, and it was killed by low farnesol levels that are sublethal to wild-type cells and both efg1Δ/efg1Δ and czf1Δ/czf1Δ single mutants. These results highlight a new role for Czf1 as a downstream effector of the morphological response to farnesol, and along with Efg1, Czf1 is involved in the control of farnesol-mediated cell death in C. albicans.

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