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Microbiology. 2012 Sep;158(Pt 9):2272-82. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.057232-0. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Spf1 strongly influences calcium homeostasis, hyphal development, biofilm formation and virulence in Candida albicans.

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Key Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology and Technology, Ministry of Education, Department of Microbiology, Nankai University, Tianjin, PR China.


The maintenance of cellular calcium homeostasis is associated with cellular signalling transduction and the functions of many membrane compartments, especially endoplasmic reticulum (ER) function. ER-localized proteins that serve to maintain ER and cellular calcium homeostasis in Candida albicans are still unclear. In this study, Spf1, the putative C. albicans homologue of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae ER-localized P-type calcium ATPase ScSpf1, was investigated for its roles in cellular calcium homeostasis, hyphal development and virulence. We constructed an Spf1 null mutant which showed decreased vegetative growth rate and hypersensitivity to EGTA, high-level calcium and antifungal drugs. Similar to treatments of ER stress agents, deletion of SPF1 stimulated calcium influx in the presence of FK506, resulting in an increase in cellular calcium contents, and induced expression of the calcium-dependent response elements gene CCH1, which is essential for the cell calcium survival pathway. Moreover, the spf1 null mutant had defects in hyphal development and biofilm formation, and was severely attenuated in virulence. These findings provided phenotypic evidence supporting roles for Spf1 in the maintenance of cellular calcium homeostasis, ER stress responses, hyphal development, biofilm formation and virulence in C. albicans.

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