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Mycopathologia. 2010 Jul;170(1):1-10. doi: 10.1007/s11046-010-9297-2. Epub 2010 Mar 17.

An analysis of the impact of NRG1 overexpression on the Candida albicans response to specific environmental stimuli.

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South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases, Department of Biology, University of Texas San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA.


The ability of the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans to form filaments has been strongly linked to its capacity to cause disease in humans. We previously described the construction of a strain in which filamentation can be modulated both in vitro and in vivo by placing one copy of the NRG1 gene under the control of a tetracycline-regulatable promoter. To further characterize the role of NRG1 in controlling filamentous growth, and in an attempt to determine whether NRG1 downregulation is a requirement for filamentation per se, or is only necessary under certain environmental conditions, we have conducted an analysis of the growth of the tet-NRG1 strain under a variety of in vitro conditions. Through overexpression of NRG1, we were able to block filamentation of C. albicans in both liquid media and on solid media. Filamentation in response to the low-oxygen environment of embedded growth was also inhibited. In all of these conditions, normal filamentation could be restored by down regulating expression from the tet-NRG1 allele. Interestingly, although elevated NRG1 levels were able to inhibit the formation of true hyphae in response to a wide range of environmental stimuli, elevated NRG1 expression did not affect the formation of pseudohyphae on nitrogen-limiting synthetic low ammonia dextrose (SLAD) medium. This work further illustrates the key role played by NRG1 in the control of filamentation and suggests that, although NRG1 repression plays a key role in regulating true hyphal growth, it apparently does not regulate pseudohyphal growth in the same fashion.

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