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PLoS Genet. 2014 Oct 16;10(10):e1004737. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004737. eCollection 2014 Oct.

White cells facilitate opposite- and same-sex mating of opaque cells in Candida albicans.

Author information

1
State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
2
State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
3
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced, Merced, California, United States of America.

Abstract

Modes of sexual reproduction in eukaryotic organisms are extremely diverse. The human fungal pathogen Candida albicans undergoes a phenotypic switch from the white to the opaque phase in order to become mating-competent. In this study, we report that functionally- and morphologically-differentiated white and opaque cells show a coordinated behavior during mating. Although white cells are mating-incompetent, they can produce sexual pheromones when treated with pheromones of the opposite mating type or by physically interacting with opaque cells of the opposite mating type. In a co-culture system, pheromones released by white cells induce opaque cells to form mating projections, and facilitate both opposite- and same-sex mating of opaque cells. Deletion of genes encoding the pheromone precursor proteins and inactivation of the pheromone response signaling pathway (Ste2-MAPK-Cph1) impair the promoting role of white cells (MTLa) in the sexual mating of opaque cells. White and opaque cells communicate via a paracrine pheromone signaling system, creating an environment conducive to sexual mating. This coordination between the two different cell types may be a trade-off strategy between sexual and asexual lifestyles in C. albicans.

PMID:
25329547
PMCID:
PMC4199524
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1004737
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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