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PLoS Genet. 2013;9(9):e1003769. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003769. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

The Uve1 endonuclease is regulated by the white collar complex to protect cryptococcus neoformans from UV damage.

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Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics, School of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri, United States of America.


The pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans uses the Bwc1-Bwc2 photoreceptor complex to regulate mating in response to light, virulence and ultraviolet radiation tolerance. How the complex controls these functions is unclear. Here, we identify and characterize a gene in Cryptococcus, UVE1, whose mutation leads to a UV hypersensitive phenotype. The homologous gene in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe encodes an apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease acting in the UVDE-dependent excision repair (UVER) pathway. C. neoformans UVE1 complements a S. pombe uvde knockout strain. UVE1 is photoregulated in a Bwc1-dependent manner in Cryptococcus, and in Neurospora crassa and Phycomyces blakesleeanus that are species that represent two other major lineages in the fungi. Overexpression of UVE1 in bwc1 mutants rescues their UV sensitivity phenotype and gel mobility shift experiments show binding of Bwc2 to the UVE1 promoter, indicating that UVE1 is a direct downstream target for the Bwc1-Bwc2 complex. Uve1-GFP fusions localize to the mitochondria. Repair of UV-induced damage to the mitochondria is delayed in the uve1 mutant strain. Thus, in C. neoformans UVE1 is a key gene regulated in response to light that is responsible for tolerance to UV stress for protection of the mitochondrial genome.

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