Candida albicans, the most important human fungal pathogen, is a dimorphic fungus that can grow either as a yeast or as a hyphal form in response to medium conditions. A RAS-related C. albicans gene (CaRSR1) was isolated as a suppressor of a cdc24(ts) bud-emergence mutation of the baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The deduced protein encoded by CaRSR1 is 248 amino acids long and 56% identical to that encoded by the S. cerevisiae RSR1 (BUD1) gene. Disruption of CaRSRI in C.albicans indicated that CaRSR1 is involved in both yeast and hypha development. In the yeast phase, CaRSR1 is required for normal (polar) bud site selection and is involved in cell morphogenesis; in the yeast-mycelial transition it is involved in germ tube emergence; and in the development of the hyphae it is involved in cell elongation. The disruption of CaRSRI leads to reduced virulence in both heterozygote and homozygote disruptants in a dose-dependent manner. The reduced virulence can be attributed to the reduced germination and shorter hyphae resulting from the disruption of CaRSR1.
- C. albicans morphogenesis
- Yeast bud site selection