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Mol Microbiol. 2009 Jan;71(2):505-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06545.x. Epub 2008 Nov 25.

Vacuole inheritance regulates cell size and branching frequency of Candida albicans hyphae.

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The Aberdeen Fungal Group, School of Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK.


Hyphal growth of Candida albicans is characterized by asymmetric cell divisions in which the subapical mother cell inherits most of the vacuolar space and becomes cell cycle arrested in G1, while the apical daughter cell acquires most of the cell cytoplasm and progresses through G1 into the next mitotic cell cycle. Consequently, branch formation in hyphal compartments is delayed until sufficient cytoplasm is synthesized to execute the G1 'START' function. To test the hypothesis that this mode of vacuole inheritance determines cell cycle progression and therefore the branching of hyphae, eight tetracycline-regulated conditional mutants were constructed that were affected at different stages of the vacuole inheritance pathway. Under repressing conditions, vac7, vac8 and fab1 mutants generated mycelial compartments with more symmetrically distributed vacuoles and increased branching frequencies. Repression of VAC1, VAM2 and VAM3 resulted in sparsely branched hyphae, with large vacuoles and enlarged hyphal compartments. Therefore, during hyphal growth of C. albicans the cell cycle, growth and branch formation can be uncoupled, resulting in the investment of cytoplasm to support hyphal extension at the expense of hyphal branching.

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