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Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Nov;23(22):8189-201.

Identification and characterization of a Candida albicans mating pheromone.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California-San Francisco, 600 16th Street, Suite N372, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.

Abstract

Candida albicans, the most prevalent fungal pathogen of humans, has recently been shown to undergo mating. Here we describe a mating pheromone produced by C. albicans alpha cells and show that the gene which encodes it (MFalpha) is required for alpha cells, but not a cells, to mate. We also identify the receptor for this mating pheromone as the product of the STE2 gene and show that this gene is required for the mating of a cells, but not alpha cells. Cells of the a mating type respond to the alpha mating pheromone by producing long polarized projections, similar to those observed in bona fide mating mixtures of C. albicans a and alpha cells. During this process, transcription of approximately 62 genes is induced. Although some of these genes correspond to those induced in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by S. cerevisiae alpha-factor, most are specific to the C. albicans pheromone response. The most surprising class encode cell surface and secreted proteins previously implicated in virulence of C. albicans in a mouse model of disseminated candidiasis. This observation suggests that aspects of cell-cell communication in mating may have been evolutionarily adopted for host-pathogen interactions in C. albicans.

PMID:
14585977
PMCID:
PMC262406
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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