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Int J Med Microbiol. 2009 Aug;299(6):453-64. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2008.12.001. Epub 2009 Feb 20.

Role of trehalose-6P phosphatase (TPS2) in stress tolerance and resistance to macrophage killing in Candida albicans.

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Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular B e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Murcia, E-30100 Murcia, Spain.


Disruption of the TPS2 gene encoding the only trehalose-6P phosphatase activity in Candida albicans caused a pleiotropic defective phenotype, maintaining the cell wall integrity and the ability to form chlamydospores. A homozygous tps2Delta/tps2Delta showed reduced growth at high temperatures and a marked sensitivity to heat shock (42 degrees C) and severe oxidative exposure (50mM H(2)O(2)). Reintroduction of the TPS2 gene reversed these alterations. A more detailed study of the antioxidant response showed that exponential tps2Delta null cells displayed an adaptive response to oxidative stress as well as cross-tolerance between temperature and oxidative stress. Differential measurement of trehalose and trehalose-6P, using reliable new HPLC methodology, revealed a significant accumulation of trehalose-6P in tps2Delta cells, which was enhanced after oxidative exposure. In contrast, the level of trehalose-6P in parental cells was virtually undetectable, and oxidative treatment only induced the synthesis of free trehalose. A transitory increase in the expression of TPS2 and TPS1 genes was promoted in wild-type cells in response to acute (50mM) but not gentle (5mM) oxidative exposure. TPS1 and TPS2 oxidative-induced transcriptions were completely absent from the tps2Delta mutant. Exponential blastoconidia from both parental and tps2Delta/tps2Delta strains were completely phagocytosed by murine and human macrophages, triggering a subsequent proinflammatory response manifested by the release of TNF-alpha. Reflecting the lower resistance to oxidative stress displayed by the tps2Delta mutant, intracellular survival in resting and IFN-gamma and LPS-stimulated macrophages was also diminished. Taken together, our results confirm the mainly protective role played by the trehalose biosynthetic pathway in the cellular response to oxidative stress and subsequently in the resistance to phagocytosis in C. albicans, a defensive mechanism in which TPS2 would be involved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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