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J Bacteriol. 1999 Dec;181(23):7243-7.

Roles of three histidine kinase genes in hyphal development and virulence of the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans.

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Department of Hygiene, School of Medicine, Yokohama City University, 3-9, Fukuura, Kanazawa, Yokohama 236-0004, Japan.


The pathogenic fungus Candida albicans harbors three histidine kinase genes called CaSLN1, CaNIK1, and CaHK1. The disruption of any one of these three genes impaired the hyphal formation and attenuated the virulence of C. albicans in a mouse systemic candidiasis model. The effects of the disruption on hyphal formation and virulence were most severe in the cahk1Delta null mutants. Although the double disruption of CaSLN1 and CaNIK1 was impossible, further deletion of CaSLN1 or CaNIK1 in the cahk1Delta null mutants partially restored the serum-induced hypha-forming ability and virulence. When incubated with radiolabelled ATP, the recombinant CaSln1 and CaNik1 proteins, which contained their own kinase and response regulator domains, were autophosphorylated, whereas CaHk1p was not. These results imply that in C. albicans, CaSLN1 and CaNIK1 function upstream of CaHK1 but are in distinct signal transmission pathways.

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