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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2001 Apr;4(2):214-21.

Dimorphism in fungal pathogens: Candida albicans and Ustilago maydis--similar inputs, different outputs.

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Department of Microbial Biotechnology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología (CSIC), Cantoblanco 28049, Madrid, Spain.


The ability to switch between a yeast-like form and a filamentous form is an extended characteristic among several fungi. In pathogenic fungi, this capacity has been correlated with virulence because along the infection process, dimorphic transitions are often required. Two well-known organisms for which dimorphism have been studied are the pathogenic fungi Candida albicans and Ustilago maydis, which infect mammals and corn, respectively. In both cases, several signal transduction pathways have been defined. Not surprisingly, these pathways are similar to the well-known pathways involved in the pseudohyphal differentiation that some Saccharomyces cerevisiae diploid strains show when nutrients are starved. However, in spite of similarities at the molecular level, strikingly, fungi use similar pathways to respond to environmental inputs, but with differing outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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