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EMBO J. 2001 Sep 3;20(17):4742-52.

NRG1 represses yeast-hypha morphogenesis and hypha-specific gene expression in Candida albicans.

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Molecular and Cell Biology, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK.


We have characterized CaNrg1 from Candida albicans, the major fungal pathogen in humans. CaNrg1 contains a zinc finger domain that is conserved in transcriptional regulators from fungi to humans. It is most closely related to ScNrg1, which represses transcription in a Tup1-dependent fashion in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Inactivation of CaNrg1 in C.albicans causes filamentous and invasive growth, derepresses hypha-specific genes, increases sensitivity to some stresses and attenuates virulence. A tup1 mutant displays similar phenotypes. However, unlike tup1 cells, nrg1 cells can form normal hyphae, generate chlamydospores at normal rates and grow at 42 degrees C. Transcript profiling of 2002 C.albicans genes reveals that CaNrg1 represses a subset of CaTup1-regulated genes, which includes known hypha-specific genes and other virulence factors. Most of these genes contain an Nrg1 response element (NRE) in their promoter. CaNrg1 interacts specifically with an NRE in vitro. Also, deletion of two NREs from the ALS8 promoter releases it from Nrg1-mediated repression. Hence, CaNrg1 is a transcriptional repressor that appears to target CaTup1 to a distinct set of virulence-related functions, including yeast-hypha morphogenesis.

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