ATP binding to hemoglobin response gene 1 protein is necessary for regulation of the mating type locus in Candida albicans

Laboratory of Pathology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1500, USA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.57). 03/2011; 286(16):13914-24. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.180190
Source: PubMed


HBR1 (hemoglobin response gene 1) is an essential gene in Candida albicans that positively regulates mating type locus MTLα gene expression and thereby regulates cell type-specific developmental genes. Hbr1p contains a phosphate-binding loop (P-loop), a highly conserved motif characteristic of ATP- and GTP-binding proteins. Recombinant Hbr1p was isolated in an oligomeric state that specifically bound ATP with K(d) ∼2 μM. ATP but not ADP, AMP, GTP, or dATP specifically protected Hbr1p from proteolysis by trypsin. Site-directed mutagenesis of the highly conserved P-loop lysine (K22Q) and the less conserved glycine (G19S) decreased the binding affinity for soluble ATP and ATP immobilized through its γ-phosphate. ATP bound somewhat more avidly than ATPγS to wild type and mutant Hbr1p. Although Hbr1p exhibits sequence motifs characteristic of adenylate kinases, and adenylate kinase and ATPase activities have been reported for the apparent human ortholog of Hbr1p, assays for adenylate kinase activity, autophosphorylation, and ATPase activity proved negative. Overexpression of wild type but not the mutant forms of Hbr1p restored MTlα2 expression in an HBR1/hbr1 mutant, indicating that ATP binding to the P-loop is necessary for this function of Hbr1p.

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    ABSTRACT: Transitions between yeast and hyphae are essential for Candida albicans pathogenesis. The genetic programs that regulate its hyphal development can be distinguished by embedded versus aerobic surface agar invasion. Hbr1, a regulator of white-opaque switching, is also a positive and negative regulator of hyphal invasion. During embedded growth at 24°C, an HBR1/hbr1 strain formed constitutively filamentous colonies throughout the matrix, resembling EFG1 null colonies, and a subset of long unbranched hyphal aggregates enclosed in a spindle-shaped capsule. Inhibition of adenylate cyclase with farnesol perturbed the filamentation of HBR1/hbr1 cells producing cytokinesis-defective hyphae whereas farnesol treated EFG1 null cells produced abundant opaque-like cells. Point mutations in the Hbr1 ATP-binding domain caused distinct filamentation phenotypes including uniform radial hyphae, hyphal sprouts, and massive yeast cell production. Conversely, aerobic surface colonies of the HBR1 heterozygote on Spider and GlcNAc media lacked filamentation that could be rescued by growth under low (5%) O2. Consistent with these morphogenesis defects, the HBR1 heterozygote exhibited attenuated virulence in a mouse candidemia model. These data define Hbr1 as an ATP-dependent positive and negative regulator of hyphal development that is sensitive to hypoxia.
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