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Eukaryot Cell. 2013 Mar;12(3):438-49. doi: 10.1128/EC.00275-12. Epub 2013 Jan 25.

Distinct and redundant roles of the two MYST histone acetyltransferases Esa1 and Sas2 in cell growth and morphogenesis of Candida albicans.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.


Candida albicans is associated with humans, as both a harmless commensal organism and a pathogen. Adaption to human body temperature is extremely important for its growth and morphogenesis. Saccharomyces cerevisiae Esa1, a member of the MYST family HATs (histone acetyltransferases) and the catalytic subunit of the NuA4 complex, and its homologues in other eukaryotes have been shown to be essential for cell growth. To investigate the functional roles of two MYST family HATs, Esa1 and Sas2 in C. albicans, we deleted ESA1 and SAS2 in the C. albicans genome and performed cell growth analyses. Our results demonstrated that C. albicans Esa1 is not essential for general growth but is essential for filamentous growth. The esa1/esa1 mutant cells exhibited sensitivity to thermal, genotoxic, and oxidative stresses but tolerance to cold, osmotic, and cell wall stresses. In contrast, the sas2/sas2 mutant adapted to growth at higher temperatures and promoted filament formation at lower temperatures, resembling the phenotype of a C. albicans strain overexpressing ESA1. Cells with deletions of both ESA1 and SAS2 were inviable, reflecting the functional redundancy in cell growth. C. albicans Esa1 and Sas2 have distinct and synergistic effects on histone acetylation at H4K5, H4K12, and H4K16. Esa1 contributes mainly to acetylation of H4K5 and H4K12, whereas Sas2 contributes to acetylation of H4K16. Our findings suggest that C. albicans Esa1 and Sas2 play opposite roles in cell growth and morphogenesis and contribute coordinately to histone acetylation and gene regulation.

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