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J Microbiol. 2016 May;54(5):339-46. doi: 10.1007/s12275-016-6080-1. Epub 2016 Apr 20.

Transcriptional control of sexual development in Cryptococcus neoformans.

Author information

1
Department of Biomolecular Chemistry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA.
2
Department of Biomolecular Chemistry, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA. cmhull@wisc.edu.
3
Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 53706, USA. cmhull@wisc.edu.

Abstract

Developmental processes are essential for the normal life cycles of many pathogenic fungi, and they can facilitate survival in challenging environments, including the human host. Sexual development of the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans not only produces infectious particles (spores) but has also enabled the evolution of new disease-related traits such as drug resistance. Transcription factor networks are essential to the development and pathogenesis of C. neoformans, and a variety of sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins control both key developmental transitions and virulence by regulating the expression of their target genes. In this review we discuss the roles of known transcription factors that harbor important connections to both development and virulence. Recent studies of these transcription factors have identified a common theme in which metabolic, stress, and other responses that are required for sexual development appear to have been co-opted for survival in the human host, thus facilitating pathogenesis. Future work elucidating the connection between development and pathogenesis will provide vital insights into the evolution of complex traits in eukaryotes as well as mechanisms that may be used to combat fungal pathogens.

KEYWORDS:

evolution; fungal pathogenesis; fungal sexual development; transcription factor network

PMID:
27095452
PMCID:
PMC5385845
DOI:
10.1007/s12275-016-6080-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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