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Eukaryot Cell. 2002 Jun;1(3):420-31.

The Golgi GDPase of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans affects morphogenesis, glycosylation, and cell wall properties.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.


Cell wall mannoproteins are largely responsible for the adhesive properties and immunomodulation ability of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans. The outer chain extension of yeast mannoproteins occurs in the lumen of the Golgi apparatus. GDP-mannose must first be transported from the cytosol into the Golgi lumen, where mannose is transferred to mannans. GDP is hydrolyzed by a GDPase, encoded by GDA1, to GMP, which then exits the Golgi lumen in a coupled, equimolar exchange with cytosolic GDP-mannose. We isolated and disrupted the C. albicans homologue of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae GDA1 gene in order to investigate its role in protein mannosylation and pathogenesis. CaGda1p shares four apyrase conserved regions with other nucleoside diphosphatases. Membranes prepared from the C. albicans disrupted gda1/gda1 strain had a 90% decrease in the ability to hydrolyze GDP compared to wild type. The gda1/gda1 mutants showed a severe defect in O-mannosylation and reduced cell wall phosphate content. Other cell wall-related phenotypes are present, such as elevated chitin levels and increased susceptibility to attack by beta-1,3-glucanases. Our results show that the C. albicans organism contains beta-mannose at their nonreducing end, differing from S. cerevisiae, which has only alpha-linked mannose residues in its O-glycans. Mutants lacking both alleles of GDA1 grow at the same rate as the wild type but are partially blocked in hyphal formation in Lee solid medium and during induction in liquid by changes in temperature and pH. However, the mutants still form normal hyphae in the presence of serum and N-acetylglucosamine and do not change their adherence to HeLa cells. Taken together, our data are in agreement with the hypothesis that several pathways regulate the yeast-hypha transition. Gda1/gda1 cells offer a model for discriminating among them.

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