ABSTRACT: Candidiasis now represents the fourth most frequent nosocomial infection both in the United States and worldwide. Candida albicans is an increasingly common threat to human health as a consequence of AIDS, steroid therapy, organ and tissue transplantation, cancer therapy, broad-spectrum antibiotics, and other immune defects. The pathogenic potential of C. albicans is intimately related to certain key processes, including biofilm formation and filamentation. Ddr48p is a damage response protein that is significantly upregulated during both biofilm formation and filamentation, but its actual function is unknown. Previous studies have indicated that this protein may be essential in C. albicans but not Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here we examined the function of Ddr48p and investigated the role of this protein in biofilm formation and filamentation. We demonstrated that this protein is not essential in C. albicans and appears to be dispensable for filamentation. However, DDR48 is required for the flocculation response stimulated by 3-aminotriazole-induced amino acid starvation. Furthermore, we examined the response of this deletion strain to a wide variety of environmental stressors and antifungal compounds. We observed several mild sensitivity or resistance phenotypes and also found that Ddr48p contributes to the DNA damage response of C. albicans. The results of this study reveal that the role of this highly expressed protein goes beyond a general stress response and impinges on a key facet of pathogenesis, namely, the ability to sense and respond to changes in the host environment.
Eukaryotic Cell 04/2012; 11(6):718-24. · 3.60 Impact Factor