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Crit Rev Microbiol. 2003;29(3):259-75.

Signaling through protein kinases and transcriptional regulators in Candida albicans.

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Department of Biochemistry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh-160 012 India.


The human fungal pathogen Candida albicans switches from a budding yeast form to a polarized hyphal form in response to various external signals. This morphogenetic switching has been implicated in the development of pathogenicity. Several signaling pathways that regulate morphogenesis have been identified, including various transcription factors that either activate or repress hypha-specific genes. Two well-characterized pathways include the MAP kinase cascade and cAMP-dependent protein kinase pathway that regulate the transcription factors Cph1p and Efg1p, respectively. cAMP also appears to interplay with other second messengers: Ca2+, inositol tri-phosphates in regulating yeast-hyphal transition. Other, less-characterized pathways include two component histidine kinases, cyclin-dependent kinase pathway, and condition specific pathways such as pH and embedded growth conditions. Nrg1 and Rfg1 function as transcriptional repressors of hyphal genes via recruitment of Tup1 co-repressor complex. Different upstream signals converge into a common downstream output during hyphal switch. The levels of expression of several genes have been shown to be associated with hyphal morphogenesis rather than with a specific hypha-inducing condition. Hyphal development is also linked to the expression of a range of other virulence factors. This review explains the relative contribution of multiple pathways that could be used by Candida albican cells to sense subtle differences in the growth conditions of its native host environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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