Cell wall integrity is linked to mitochondria and phospholipid homeostasis in Candida albicans through the activity of the post‐transcriptional regulator Ccr4‐Pop2

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Molecular Microbiology (Impact Factor: 4.42). 12/2010; 79(4):968 - 989. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07503.x


The cell wall is essential for viability of fungi and is an effective drug target in pathogens such as Candida albicans. The contribution of post-transcriptional gene regulators to cell wall integrity in C. albicans is unknown. We show that the C. albicans Ccr4-Pop2 mRNA deadenylase, a regulator of mRNA stability and translation, is required for cell wall integrity. The ccr4/pop2 mutants display reduced wall β-glucans and sensitivity to the echinocandin caspofungin. Moreover, the deadenylase mutants are compromised for filamentation and virulence. We demonstrate that defective cell walls in the ccr4/pop2 mutants are linked to dysfunctional mitochondria and phospholipid imbalance. To further understand mitochondrial function in cell wall integrity, we screened a Saccharomyces cerevisiae collection of mitochondrial mutants. We identify several mitochondrial proteins required for caspofungin tolerance and find a connection between mitochondrial phospholipid homeostasis and caspofungin sensitivity. We focus on the mitochondrial outer membrane SAM complex subunit Sam37, demonstrating that it is required for both trafficking of phospholipids between the ER and mitochondria and cell wall integrity. Moreover, in C. albicans also Sam37 is essential for caspofungin tolerance. Our study provides the basis for an integrative view of mitochondrial function in fungal cell wall biogenesis and resistance to echinocandin antifungal drugs.

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Available from: Thusitha Rupasinghe, Jan 22, 2014
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    • "Studies in C. albicans support the S. cerevisiae data. Mutations in CCR4, CAF1/POP2, NOT1, NOT3, and NOT5 give rise to cells that are defective in transitioning from yeast to hyphal growth (Cheng et al., 2003; Epp et al., 2010; Dagley et al., 2011). Substrate adherence and hyphal growth are important for the formation of C. albicans biofilms (Finkel and Mitchell, 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: The fungal Ccr4-NOT complex has been implicated in orchestrating gene expression networks that impact on pathways key for virulence in pathogenic species. The activity of Ccr4-NOT regulates cell wall integrity, antifungal drug susceptibility, adaptation to host temperature, and the developmental switches that enable the formation of pathogenic structures, such as filamentous hyphae. Moreover, Ccr4-NOT impacts on DNA repair pathways and genome stability, opening the possibility that this gene regulator could control adaptive responses in pathogens that are driven by chromosomal alterations. Here we provide a synthesis of the cellular roles of the fungal Ccr4-NOT, focusing on pathways important for virulence toward animals. Our review is based on studies in models yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and two species that cause serious human infections, Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans. We hypothesize that the activity of Ccr4-NOT could be targeted for future antifungal drug discovery, a proposition supported by the fact that inactivation of the genes encoding subunits of Ccr4-NOT in C. albicans and C. neoformans reduces virulence in the mouse infection model. We performed bioinformatics analysis to identify similarities and differences between Ccr4-NOT subunits in fungi and animals, and discuss this knowledge in the context of future antifungal strategies.
    Frontiers in Genetics 12/2013; 4:302. DOI:10.3389/fgene.2013.00302
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    • "Hypoxia would impact on mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial function is important for cell wall integrity in several fungal species, including S. cerevisiae, C. albicans and C. glabrata [41], [42], [43], [44], [45]; reviewed in [46]). In some cases, links between mitochondrial activity and cell wall ß-glucans have been reported [41], [43]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding multicellular fungal structures is important for designing better strategies against human fungal pathogens. For example, the ability to form multicellular biofilms is a key virulence property of the yeast Candida albicans. C. albicans biofilms form on indwelling medical devices and are drug resistant, causing serious infections in hospital settings. Multicellular fungal communities are heterogeneous, consisting of cells experiencing different environments. Heterogeneity is likely important for the phenotypic characteristics of communities, yet it is poorly understood. Here we used colonies of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model fungal multicellular structure. We fractionated the outside colony layers from the cells in the center by FACS, using a Cit1-GFP marker expressed exclusively on the outside. Transcriptomics analysis of the two subpopulations revealed that the outside colony layers are actively growing by fermentative metabolism, while the cells residing on the inside are in a resting state and experience changes to mitochondrial activity. Our data shows several parallels with C. albicans biofilms providing insight into the contributions of heterogeneity to biofilm phenotypes. Hallmarks of C. albicans biofilms - the expression of ribosome and translation functions and activation of glycolysis and ergosterol biosynthesis occur on the outside of colonies, while expression of genes associates with sulfur assimilation is observed in the colony center. Cell wall restructuring occurs in biofilms, and cell wall functions are enriched in both fractions: the outside cells display enrichment of cell wall biosynthesis enzymes and cell wall proteins, while the inside cells express cell wall degrading enzymes. Our study also suggests that noncoding transcription and posttranscriptional mRNA regulation play important roles during growth of yeast in colonies, setting the scene for investigating these pathways in the development of multicellular fungal communities.
    PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e46243. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0046243 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "The authors find that inositol pyrophosphates affect mitochondrial function and fermentation rates to control cellular ATP content. This suggests that pHc, inositol pyrophosphates and mitochondria function in an interdependent network to control cell division, resource distribution, and therefore potentially the balance between growth and cellular robustness [53-57]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Because protonation affects the properties of almost all molecules in cells, cytosolic pH (pHc) is usually assumed to be constant. In the model organism yeast, however, pHc changes in response to the presence of nutrients and varies during growth. Since small changes in pHc can lead to major changes in metabolism, signal transduction, and phenotype, we decided to analyze pHc control. Results Introducing a pH-sensitive reporter protein into the yeast deletion collection allowed quantitative genome-wide analysis of pHc in live, growing yeast cultures. pHc is robust towards gene deletion; no single gene mutation led to a pHc of more than 0.3 units lower than that of wild type. Correct pHc control required not only vacuolar proton pumps, but also strongly relied on mitochondrial function. Additionally, we identified a striking relationship between pHc and growth rate. Careful dissection of cause and consequence revealed that pHc quantitatively controls growth rate. Detailed analysis of the genetic basis of this control revealed that the adequate signaling of pHc depended on inositol polyphosphates, a set of relatively unknown signaling molecules with exquisitely pH sensitive properties. Conclusions While pHc is a very dynamic parameter in the normal life of yeast, genetically it is a tightly controlled cellular parameter. The coupling of pHc to growth rate is even more robust to genetic alteration. Changes in pHc control cell division rate in yeast, possibly as a signal. Such a signaling role of pHc is probable, and may be central in development and tumorigenesis.
    Genome biology 09/2012; 13(9):R80. DOI:10.1186/gb-2012-13-9-r80 · 10.81 Impact Factor
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