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Eukaryot Cell. 2010 Oct;9(10):1476-83. doi: 10.1128/EC.00178-10. Epub 2010 Jul 30.

Identification of GIG1, a GlcNAc-induced gene in Candida albicans needed for normal sensitivity to the chitin synthase inhibitor nikkomycin Z.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Stony Brook University, NY 11794-5222, USA.


The amino sugar N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) is known to be an important structural component of cells from bacteria to humans, but its roles in cell signaling are less well understood. GlcNAc induces two pathways in the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. One activates cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling, which stimulates the formation of hyphal cells and the expression of virulence genes, and the other pathway induces genes needed to catabolize GlcNAc. Microarray analysis of gene expression was carried out under four different conditions in order to characterize the transcriptional changes induced by GlcNAc. The most highly induced genes include those that encode a GlcNAc transporter (NGT1) and the GlcNAc catabolic enzymes (HXK1, DAC1, and NAG1). GlcNAc also activated most of the genes whose expression is increased when cells are triggered with other stimuli to form hyphae. Surprisingly, GlcNAc also induced a subset of genes that are regulated by galactose (GAL1, GAL7, and GAL10), which may be due to cross talk between signaling pathways. A novel GlcNAc-induced gene, GIG1, which is not essential for GlcNAc catabolism or the induction of hyphae, was identified. However, a Gig1-green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion protein was specifically induced by GlcNAc, and not by other sugars. Gig1-GFP localized to the cytoplasm, where GlcNAc metabolism occurs. Significantly, a gig1Δ mutant displayed increased resistance to nikkomycin Z, which inhibits chitin synthase from converting UDP-GlcNAc into cell wall chitin. Gig1 is highly conserved in fungi, especially those that contain GlcNAc catabolic genes. These results implicate Gig1 in GlcNAc metabolism.

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