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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Jan;55(2):546-60.

PMT family of Candida albicans: five protein mannosyltransferase isoforms affect growth, morphogenesis and antifungal resistance.

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Institut für Mikrobiologie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany.


Protein O-mannosyltransferases (Pmt proteins) initiate O-mannosylation of secretory proteins. The PMT gene family of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans consists of PMT1 and PMT6, as well as three additional PMT genes encoding Pmt2, Pmt4 and Pmt5 isoforms described here. Both PMT2 alleles could not be deleted and growth of conditional strains, containing PMT2 controlled by the MET3- or tetOScHOP1-promoters, was blocked in non-permissive conditions, indicating that PMT2 is essential for growth. A homozygous pmt4 mutant was viable, but synthetic lethality of pmt4 was observed in combination with pmt1 mutations. Hyphal morphogenesis of a pmt4 mutant was defective under aerobic induction conditions, yet increased in embedded or hypoxic conditions, suggesting a role of Pmt4p-mediated O-glycosylation for environment-specific morphogenetic signalling. Although a PMT5 transcript was detected, a homozygous pmt5 mutant was phenotypically silent. All other pmt mutants showed variable degrees of supersensitivity to antifungals and to cell wall-destabilizing agents. Cell wall composition was markedly affected in pmt1 and pmt4 mutants, showing a significant decrease in wall mannoproteins. In a mouse model of haematogenously disseminated infection, PMT4 was required for full virulence of C. albicans. Functional analysis of the first complete PMT gene family in a fungal pathogen indicates that Pmt isoforms have variable and specific roles for in vitro and in vivo growth, morphogenesis and antifungal resistance.

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