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Mol Microbiol. 2009 Mar;71(5):1155-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06592.x. Epub 2009 Jan 19.

Calcium homeostasis is required for contact-dependent helical and sinusoidal tip growth in Candida albicans hyphae.

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  • 1Aberdeen Fungal Group, School of Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.


Hyphae of the dimorphic fungus, Candida albicans, exhibit directional tip responses when grown in contact with surfaces. On hard surfaces or in liquid media, the trajectory of hyphal growth is typically linear, with tip re-orientation events limited to encounters with topographical features (thigmotropism). In contrast, when grown on semisolid surfaces, the tips of C. albicans hyphae grow in an oscillatory manner to form regular two-dimensional sinusoidal curves and three-dimensional helices. We show that, like thigmotropism, initiation of directional tip oscillation in C. albicans hyphae is severely attenuated when Ca2+ homeostasis is perturbed. Chelation of extracellular Ca2+ or deletion of the Ca2+ transporters that modulate cytosolic [Ca2+] (Mid1, Cch1 or Pmr1) did not affect hyphal length but curve formation was severely reduced in mid1Delta and cch1Delta and abolished in pmr1Delta. Sinusoidal hypha morphology was altered in the mid1Delta, chs3Delta and heterozygous pmr1Delta/PMR1 strains. Treatments that affect cell wall integrity, changes in surface mannosylation or the provision of additional carbon sources had significant but less pronounced effects on oscillatory growth. The induction of two- and three-dimensional sinusoidal growth in wild-type C. albicans hyphae is therefore the consequence of mechanisms that involve Ca2+ influx and signalling rather than gross changes in the cell wall architecture.

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