Glutathione biosynthesis in the yeast pathogens Candida glabrata and Candida albicans: Essential in C. glabrata, and essential for virulence in C. albicans

Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR), Sector 39-A, Chandigarh 160 036, India.
Microbiology (Impact Factor: 2.56). 02/2011; 157(2). DOI: 10.1099/mic.0.045054-0


Redox pathways play a key role in pathogenesis. Glutathione, a central molecule in redox homeostasis in yeasts, is an essential metabolite, but its requirements can be met either from endogenous biosynthesis or from the extracellular milieu. In this report we have examined the importance of glutathione biosynthesis in two major human opportunistic fungal pathogens, Candida albicans and Candida glabrata. As the genome sequence of C. glabrata had suggested the absence of glutathione transporters, we initially investigated exogenous glutathione utilization in C. glabrata by disruption of the MET15 gene, involved in methionine biosynthesis. We observed an organic sulphur auxotrophy in a C. glabrata met15D strain; however, unlike its Saccharomyces cerevisiae counterpart, the C. glabrata met15D strain was unable to grow on exogenous glutathione. This inability to grow on exogenous glutathione was demonstrated to be due to the lack of a functional glutathione transporter, despite the presence of a functional glutathione degradation machinery (the Dug pathway). In the absence of the ability to obtain glutathione from the extracellular medium, we examined and could demonstrate that c-glutamyl cysteine synthase, the first enzyme of glutathione biosynthesis, was essential in C. glabrata. Further, although c-glutamyl cysteine synthase has been reported to be non-essential in C. albicans, we report here for what is believed to be the first time that the enzyme is required for survival in human macrophages in vitro, as well as for virulence in a murine model of disseminated candidiasis. The essentiality of c-glutamyl cysteine synthase in C. glabrata, and its essentiality for virulence in C. albicans, make the enzyme a strong candidate for antifungal development.

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    • "This GSH increase in CO23RFLC confers to this strain a clear advantage in counteracting oxidative toxic agents (Fig. 3) as further demonstrated by CO23, CO23MCFG and CO23RFLC strains treated with GSH precursors in presence and in absence of GSH synthesis inhibitor (Fig. 4). It should be underlined that GSH1 activity is essential to maintain the vital state of C. glabrata lacking transporters for exogenous glutathione and is essential for virulence in C. albicans [21], [22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Currently available therapies for candidiasis are based on antifungal drugs belonging to azole and echinocandin families that interfere with different aspects of fungal metabolism. These drugs, beyond their specific effects, elicit also a cellular stress including an unbalance of redox state that is counteracted not only utilizing antioxidant species but also increasing the outcome export by transporters to detoxify the internal environment. These cellular actions are both based on the cytosolic concentration of reduced glutathione (GSH). In this paper we investigated the effects of two antifungal drugs fluconazole and micafungin on the redox state of the cell in C. albicans to understand if the resistance to these drugs is accompanied by variation of glutathione metabolism. Analyses of resistant strains showed a marked difference in glutathione contents in strains resistant to fluconazole (CO23RFLC) or micafungin (CO23RFK). In CO23RFLC, the total amount of glutathione was more than doubled with respect to CO23RFK thanks to the increased activity of γ-glutamilcysteine synthetase, the key enzyme involved in GSH synthesis. We demonstrated that the GSH increase in CO23RFLC conferred to this strain a clear advantage in counteracting oxidative toxic agents while assignment of other roles, such as a more efficient elimination of the drug from the cell, should be considered more speculative. As far as MCFG resistance is concerned, from our data a role of glutathione metabolism in supporting this condition is not evident. Overall our data indicate that glutathione metabolism is differently affected in the two resistant strains and that glutathione system may play an important role in the global organization of C.albicans cells for resistance to fluconazole. Such scenario may pave the way to hypothesize the use of oxidant drugs or inhibitors able to deplete reduced glutathione level as a novel approach, for counteracting the resistance to this specific antifungal drug.
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    ABSTRACT: Pathogenic yeasts, either from the environment or the normal flora, have to face phagocytic cells that constitute the first line of defence during infection. In order to evade or counteract attack by phagocytes, pathogenic yeasts have acquired a repertoire of strategies to survive, colonize and infect the host. In this review we focus on the interaction of yeasts, such as Candida, Histoplasma or Cryptococcus species, with macrophages or neutrophils. We discuss strategies used by these fungi to prevent phagocytosis or to counteract phagocytic activities. We go on to describe the strategies that permit intracellular survival within phagocytes and that may eventually lead to damage of and escape from the phagocyte.
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    ABSTRACT: We describe a novel plasma membrane cystine transporter, CgCYN1, from Candida glabrata, the first such transporter to be described from yeast and fungi. C. glabrata met15Δ strains, organic sulfur auxotrophs, were observed to utilize cystine as a sulfur source, and this phenotype was exploited in the discovery of CgCYN1. Heterologous expression of CgCYN1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae met15Δ strains conferred the ability of S. cerevisiae strains to grow on cystine. Deletion of the CgCYN1 ORF (CAGL0M00154g) in C. glabrata met15Δ strains caused abrogation of growth on cystine with growth being restored when CgCYN1 was reintroduced. The CgCYN1 protein belongs to the amino acid permease family of transporters, with no similarity to known plasma membrane cystine transporters of bacteria and humans, or lysosomal cystine transporters of humans/yeast. Kinetic studies revealed a K(m) of 18 ± 5 μM for cystine. Cystine uptake was inhibited by cystine, but not by other amino acids, including cysteine. The structurally similar cystathionine, lanthionine, and selenocystine alone inhibited transport, confirming that the transporter was specific for cystine. CgCYN1 localized to the plasma membrane and transport was energy-dependent. Functional orthologues could be demonstrated from other pathogenic yeast like Candida albicans and Histoplasma capsulatum, but were absent in Schizosaccharomyces pombe and S. cerevisiae.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2011 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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