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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Aug;57(4):942-59.

Cell cycle arrest during S or M phase generates polarized growth via distinct signals in Candida albicans.

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Health Sector, Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, 6100 Royalmount Ave., Montreal Quebec, H4P 2R2, Canada.


Treatments that perturb DNA synthesis or mitosis will activate checkpoints that prevent cell cycle progression and cell proliferation. In yeast-form cells of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans, exposure to hydroxyurea (HU) or shutting off expression of the polo-like kinase CaCDC5 blocked nuclear division and spindle elongation, but activated a highly polarized growth mode. We have used transcription profiling both to characterize the initiation and progression of this polar growth pattern and to determine how cell elongation may be linked to the cell cycle in C. albicans. Different gene expression patterns during early stages of cell elongation support the concept that CaCdc5p-depleted and HU-exposed cells were blocked at different stages of the cell cycle, and suggest that different signals may generate the common polarized growth phenotype. Consistent with this, BUB2 expression was modulated in CaCdc5p-depleted cells, and absence of BUB2 prevented the maintenance of cell polarization, resulting in multibudded, pseudohyphal cells with constrictions. In contrast, HU-induced filaments did not modulate or require BUB2, but were dependent on the GTPase Ras1p. However, at later stages of cell elongation, transcription profiles were more similar, and comparisons with serum-induced hyphae revealed that the cell cycle-arrested filaments expressed several targets of the hyphal signalling pathways. Thus, arresting the yeast cell cycle in S or M phase generates a polarized growth pattern through different mechanisms in C. albicans, and maintenance of the polar growth mode can ultimately lead to the expression of hyphal-associated cell wall and virulence-related factors, in the absence of any external stimuli.

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