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Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 1;9(1):9445. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45817-5.

The Fungal Histone Acetyl Transferase Gcn5 Controls Virulence of the Human Pathogen Candida albicans through Multiple Pathways.

Author information

1
Medical University of Vienna, Max Perutz Labs Vienna, Campus Vienna Biocenter, A-1030, Vienna, Austria.
2
Public Health Research Institute, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, 07103, USA. chauhan1@njms.rutgers.edu.
3
Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, 07103, USA. chauhan1@njms.rutgers.edu.
4
Medical University of Vienna, Max Perutz Labs Vienna, Campus Vienna Biocenter, A-1030, Vienna, Austria. karl.kuchler@meduniwien.ac.at.

Abstract

Fungal virulence is regulated by a tight interplay of transcriptional control and chromatin remodelling. Despite compelling evidence that lysine acetylation modulates virulence of pathogenic fungi such as Candida albicans, the underlying mechanisms have remained largely unexplored. We report here that Gcn5, a paradigm lysyl-acetyl transferase (KAT) modifying both histone and non-histone targets, controls fungal morphogenesis - a key virulence factor of C. albicans. Our data show that genetic removal of GCN5 abrogates fungal virulence in mice, suggesting strongly diminished fungal fitness in vivo. This may at least in part arise from increased susceptibility to killing by macrophages, as well as by other phagocytes such as neutrophils or monocytes. Loss of GCN5 also causes hypersensitivity to the fungicidal drug caspofungin. Caspofungin hypersusceptibility requires the master regulator Efg1, working in concert with Gcn5. Moreover, Gcn5 regulates multiple independent pathways, including adhesion, cell wall-mediated MAP kinase signaling, hypersensitivity to host-derived oxidative stress, and regulation of the Fks1 glucan synthase, all of which play critical roles in virulence and antifungal susceptibility. Hence, Gcn5 regulates fungal virulence through multiple mechanisms, suggesting that specific inhibition of Gcn5 could offer new therapeutic strategies to combat invasive fungal infections.

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