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J Bacteriol. 1999 May;181(10):3058-68.

Role of the mitogen-activated protein kinase Hog1p in morphogenesis and virulence of Candida albicans.

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  • 1Departamento de Microbiología II, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, E-28040 Madrid, Spain.


The relevance of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase Hog1p in Candida albicans was addressed through the characterization of C. albicans strains without a functional HOG1 gene. Analysis of the phenotype of hog1 mutants under osmostressing conditions revealed that this mutant displays a set of morphological alterations as the result of a failure to complete the final stages of cytokinesis, with parallel defects in the budding pattern. Even under permissive conditions, hog1 mutants displayed a different susceptibility to some compounds such as nikkomycin Z or Congo red, which interfere with cell wall functionality. In addition, the hog1 mutant displayed a colony morphology different from that of the wild-type strain on some media which promote morphological transitions in C. albicans. We show that C. albicans hog1 mutants are derepressed in the serum-induced hyphal formation and, consistently with this behavior, that HOG1 overexpression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae represses the pseudodimorphic transition. Most interestingly, deletion of HOG1 resulted in a drastic increase in the mean survival time of systemically infected mice, supporting a role for this MAP kinase pathway in virulence of pathogenic fungi. This finding has potential implications in antifungal therapy.

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