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Genetics. 2001 Apr;157(4):1503-12.

The DNA binding protein Rfg1 is a repressor of filamentation in Candida albicans.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University at Albany/State University of New York, Albany, New York 12222, USA.


We have identified a repressor of hyphal growth in the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. The gene was originally cloned in an attempt to characterize the homologue of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Rox1, a repressor of hypoxic genes. Rox1 is an HMG-domain, DNA binding protein with a repression domain that recruits the Tup1/Ssn6 general repression complex to achieve repression. The C. albicans clone also encoded an HMG protein that was capable of repression of a hypoxic gene in a S. cerevisiae rox1 deletion strain. Gel retardation experiments using the purified HMG domain of this protein demonstrated that it was capable of binding specifically to a S. cerevisiae hypoxic operator DNA sequence. These data seemed to indicate that this gene encoded a hypoxic repressor. However, surprisingly, when a homozygous deletion was generated in C. albicans, the cells became constitutive for hyphal growth. This phenotype was rescued by the reintroduction of the wild-type gene on a plasmid, proving that the hyphal growth phenotype was due to the deletion and not a secondary mutation. Furthermore, oxygen repression of the hypoxic HEM13 gene was not affected by the deletion nor was this putative ROX1 gene regulated positively by oxygen as is the case for the S. cerevisiae gene. All these data indicate that this gene, now designated RFG1 for Repressor of Filamentous Growth, is a repressor of genes required for hyphal growth and not a hypoxic repressor.

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