Derepressed hyphal growth and reduced virulence in a VH1 family-related protein phosphatase mutant of the human pathogen Candida albicans.
ABSTRACT: Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases are pivotal components of eukaryotic signaling cascades. Phosphorylation of tyrosine and threonine residues activates MAP kinases, but either dual-specificity or monospecificity phosphatases can inactivate them. The Candida albicans CPP1 gene, a structural member of the VH1 family of dual- specificity phosphatases, was previously cloned by its ability to block the pheromone response MAP kinase cascade in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Cpp1p inactivated mammalian MAP kinases in vitro and acted as a tyrosine-specific enzyme. In C. albicans a MAP kinase cascade can trigger the transition from the budding yeast form to a more invasive filamentous form. Disruption of the CPP1 gene in C. albicans derepressed the yeast to hyphal transition at ambient temperatures, on solid surfaces. A hyphal growth rate defect under physiological conditions in vitro was also observed and could explain a reduction in virulence associated with reduced fungal burden in the kidneys seen in a systemic mouse model. A hyper-hyphal pathway may thus have some detrimental effects on C. albicans cells. Disruption of the MAP kinase homologue CEK1 suppressed the morphological effects of the CPP1 disruption in C. albicans. The results presented here demonstrate the biological importance of a tyrosine phosphatase in cell-fate decisions and virulence in C. albicans.
Project description:The human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans can switch between yeast and hyphal morphologies as a function of environmental conditions and cellular physiology. The yeast-to-hyphae morphogenetic switch is activated by well-established, kinase-based signal transduction pathways that are induced by extracellular stimuli. In order to identify possible inhibitory pathways of the yeast-to-hyphae transition, we interrogated a collection of C. albicans protein kinases and phosphatases ectopically expressed under the regulation of the TETon promoter. Proportionately more phosphatases than kinases were identified that inhibited hyphal morphogenesis, consistent with the known role of protein phosphorylation in hyphal induction. Among the kinases, we identified AKL1 as a gene that significantly suppressed hyphal morphogenesis in serum. Akl1 specifically affected hyphal elongation rather than initiation: overexpression of AKL1 repressed hyphal growth, and deletion of AKL1 resulted in acceleration of the rate of hyphal elongation. Akl1 suppressed fluid-phase endocytosis, probably via Pan1, a putative clathrin-mediated endocytosis scaffolding protein. In the absence of Akl1, the Pan1 patches were delocalized from the sub-apical region, and fluid-phase endocytosis was intensified. These results underscore the requirement of an active endocytic pathway for hyphal morphogenesis. Furthermore, these results suggest that under standard conditions, endocytosis is rate-limiting for hyphal elongation.
Project description:Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are key mediators of signaling in fungi, participating in the response to diverse stresses and in developmental processes. Since the precise regulation of MAPKs is fundamental for cell physiology, fungi bear dual specificity phosphatases (DUSPs) that act as MAP kinase phosphatases (MKPs). Whereas fungal MKPs share characteristic domains of this phosphatase subfamily, they also have specific interaction motifs and particular activation mechanisms, which, for example, allow some yeast MKPs, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sdp1, to couple oxidative stress with substrate recognition. Model yeasts show that MKPs play a key role in the modulation of MAPK signaling flow. Mutants affected in S. cerevisiae Msg5 or in Schizosaccharomyces pombe Pmp1 display MAPK hyperactivation and specific phenotypes. MKPs from virulent fungi, such as Candida albicans Cpp1, Fusarium graminearum Msg5, and Pyricularia oryzae Pmp1, are relevant for pathogenicity. Apart from transcriptional regulation, MKPs can be post-transcriptionally regulated by RNA-binding proteins such as Rnc1, which stabilizes the S. pombe PMP1 mRNA. P. oryzae Pmp1 activity and S. cerevisiae Msg5 stability are regulated by phosphorylation and ubiquitination, respectively. Therefore, fungi offer a platform to gain insight into the regulatory mechanisms that control MKPs.
Project description:The mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases are essential signaling molecules that mediate many cellular effects of growth factors, cytokines, and stress stimuli. Full activation of the MAP kinases requires dual phosphorylation of the Thr and Tyr residues in the TXY motif of the activation loop by MAP kinase kinases. Down-regulation of MAP kinase activity can be initiated by multiple serine/threonine phosphatases, tyrosine-specific phosphatases, and dual specificity phosphatases (MAP kinase phosphatases). This would inevitably lead to the formation of monophosphorylated MAP kinases. However, the biological functions of these monophosphorylated MAP kinases are currently not clear. In this study, we have prepared MAP kinase p38alpha, a member of the MAP kinase family, in all phosphorylated forms and characterized their biochemical properties. Our results indicated the following: (i) p38alpha phosphorylated at both Thr-180 and Tyr-182 was 10-20-fold more active than p38alpha phosphorylated at Thr-180 only, whereas p38alpha phosphorylated at Tyr-182 alone was inactive; (ii) the dual-specific MKP5, the tyrosine-specific hematopoietic protein-tyrosine phosphatase, and the serine/threonine-specific PP2Calpha are all highly specific for the dephosphorylation of p38alpha, and the dephosphorylation rates were significantly affected by different phosphorylated states of p38alpha; (iii) the N-terminal domain of MPK5 has no effect on enzyme catalysis, whereas deletion of the MAP kinase-binding domain in MKP5 leads to a 370-fold decrease in k(cat)/K(m) for the dephosphorylation of p38alpha. This study has thus revealed the quantitative contributions of phosphorylation of Thr, Tyr, or both to the activation of p38alpha and to the substrate specificity for various phosphatases.
Project description:The pathogenic yeast Candida albicans can grow in multiple morphological states including budded, pseudohyphal and true hyphal forms. The ability to interconvert between budded and hyphal forms, herein termed the budded-to-hyphal transition (BHT), is important for C. albicans virulence, and is regulated by multiple environmental and cellular signals. To identify small-molecule inhibitors of known cellular processes that can also block the BHT, a microplate-based morphological assay was used to screen the BIOMOL-Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology (ICCB) Known Bioactives collection from the ICCB-Longwood Screening Facility (Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA). Of 480 molecules tested, 53 were cytotoxic to C. albicans and 16 were able to block the BHT without inhibiting budded growth. These 16 BHT inhibitors affected protein kinases, protein phosphatases, Ras signalling pathways, G protein-coupled receptors, calcium homeostasis, nitric oxide and guanylate cyclase signalling, and apoptosis in mammalian cells. Several of these molecules were also able to inhibit filamentous growth in other Candida species, as well as the pathogenic filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, suggesting a broad fungal host range for these inhibitory molecules. Results from secondary assays, including hyphal-specific transcription and septin localization analysis, were consistent with the inhibitors affecting known BHT signalling pathways in C. albicans. Therefore, these molecules will not only be invaluable in deciphering the signalling pathways regulating the BHT, but also may serve as starting points for potential new antifungal therapeutics.
Project description:The cell wall is essential for the yeast to hypha (Y-H) transition that enables Candida albicans to invade human tissues and evade the immune system. The main constituent, ?(1,3)-glucan, is remodeled by glucanosyltransferases of the GH72 family. Phr1p is responsible of glucan remodeling at neutral-alkaline pH and is essential for morphogenesis and virulence. Due to the pH-regulated expression of PHR1, the phr1? phenotype is manifested at pH?>?6 and its severity increases with the rise in pH. We exploited the pH-conditional nature of a PHR1 null mutant to analyze the impact of glucan remodeling on the hyphal transcriptional program and the role of chitin synthases in the hyphal wall stress (HWS) response.In hyphal growth inducing conditions, phr1? germ tubes are defective in elongation, accumulate chitin, and constitutively activate the signaling pathways mediated by the MAP kinases Mkc1p, Cek1p and Hog1p. The transcriptional profiles revealed an increase of transcript levels for genes involved in cell wall formation (CHS2 and CHS8, CRH11, PGA23, orf19.750, RBR1, RBT4, ECM331, PGA6, PGA13), protein N-glycosylation and sorting in the ER (CWH8 and CHS7), signaling (CPP1, SSK2), ion transport (FLC2, YVC1), stress response and metabolism and a reduced expression of adhesins. A transient up-regulation of DNA replication genes associated with entry into S-phase occurred whereas cell-cycle regulating genes (PCL1, PCL2, CCN1, GIN4, DUN1, CDC28) were persistently up-regulated. To test the physiological relevance of altered CHS gene expression, phr1? chsx? (x?=?2,3,8) mutant phenotypes were analyzed during the Y-H transition. PHR1 deletion was synthetic lethal with CHS3 loss on solid M199 medium-pH 7.5 and with CHS8 deletion on solid M199-pH 8. On Spider medium, PHR1 was synthetic lethal with CHS3 or CHS8 at pH 8.The absence of Phr1p triggers an adaptive response aimed to reinforce the hyphal cell wall and restore homeostasis. Chs3p is essential in preserving phr1? cell integrity during the Y-H transition. Our findings also unveiled an unanticipated essential role of Chs8p during filamentation on solid media. These results highlight the flexibility of fungal cells in maintaining cell wall integrity and contribute to assessments of glucan remodeling as a target for therapy.
Project description:Candida albicans is able to undergo reversible morphological changes between yeast and hyphal forms in response to environmental cues. This morphological plasticity is essential for its pathogenesis. Hyphal development requires two temporally linked changes in promoter chromatin, which is sequentially regulated by temporarily clearing the transcription inhibitor Nrg1 upon activation of cAMP/protein kinase A and promoter recruitment of the histone deacetylase Hda1 under reduced target of rapamycin (Tor1) signaling. The GATA family transcription factor Brg1 recruits Hda1 to promoters for sustained hyphal development, and BRG1 expression is a readout of reduced Tor1 signaling. How Tor1 regulates BRG1 expression is not clear. Using a forward genetic screen for mutants that can sustain hyphal elongation in rich media, we found hog1, ssk2, and pbs2 mutants of the HOG mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway to express BRG1 irrespective of rapamycin. Furthermore, rapamycin lowers the basal activity of Hog1 through the functions of the two Hog1 tyrosine phosphatases Ptp2 and Ptp3. Active Hog1 represses the expression of BRG1 via the transcriptional repressor Sko1 as Sko1 disassociates from the promoter of BRG1 in the hog1 mutant or in rapamycin. Our data suggest that reduced Tor1 signaling lowers Hog1 basal activity via Hog1 phosphatases to activate BRG1 expression for hyphal elongation.
Project description:Protein phosphatases are critical for the regulation of many cellular processes. Null mutants of 21 putative protein phosphatases of Candida albicans were constructed by consecutive allele replacement using the URA3 and ARG4 marker genes. A simple silkworm model of C. albicans infection was used to screen the panel of mutants. Four null mutant (cmp1Delta, yvh1Delta, sit4Delta, and ptc1Delta) strains showed attenuated virulence in the silkworm model relative to that of control and parental strains. Three of the mutants, the cmp1Delta, yvh1Delta, and sit4Delta mutants, had previously been identified as affecting virulence in a conventional mouse model, indicating the validity of the silkworm model screen. Disruption of the putative protein phosphatase gene PTC1 of C. albicans, which has 52% identity to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae type 2C protein phosphatase PTC1, significantly reduced virulence in the silkworm model. The mutant was also avirulent in a mouse model of disseminated candidiasis. Reintroducing either of the C. albicans PTC1 alleles into the disruptant strain, using a cassette containing either allele under the control of a constitutive ACT1 promoter, restored virulence in both infection models. Characterization of ptc1Delta revealed other phenotypic traits, including reduced hyphal growth in vitro and in vivo, and reduced extracellular proteolytic activity. We conclude that PTC1 may contribute to pathogenicity in C. albicans.
Project description:Members of the dual-specificity tyrosine-phosphorylated and regulated kinase (DYRK) family perform a variety of functions in eukaryotes. We used gene disruption, targeted pharmacologic inhibition, and genome-wide transcriptional profiling to dissect the function of the Yak1 DYRK in the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. C. albicans strains with mutant yak1 alleles showed defects in the yeast-to-hypha transition and in maintaining hyphal growth. They also could not form biofilms. Despite their in vitro filamentation defect, C. albicans yak1Delta/yak1Delta mutants remained virulent in animal models of systemic and oropharyngeal candidiasis. Transcriptional profiling showed that Yak1 was necessary for the up-regulation of only a subset of hypha-induced genes. Although downstream targets of the Tec1 and Bcr1 transcription factors were down-regulated in the yak1Delta/yak1Delta mutant, TEC1 and BCR1 were not. Furthermore, 63% of Yak1-dependent, hypha-specific genes have been reported to be negatively regulated by the transcriptional repressor Tup1 and inactivation of TUP1 in the yak1Delta/yak1Delta mutant restored filamentation, suggesting that Yak1 may function upstream of Tup1 in governing hyphal emergence and maintenance.
Project description:Protein phosphorylation on tyrosine has emerged as a key device in the control of numerous cellular functions in bacteria. In this article, we review the structure and function of bacterial tyrosine kinases and phosphatases. Phosphorylation is catalyzed by autophosphorylating adenosine triphosphate-dependent enzymes (bacterial tyrosine (BY) kinases) that are characterized by the presence of Walker motifs. The reverse reaction is catalyzed by three classes of enzymes: the eukaryotic-like phosphatases (PTPs) and dual-specific phosphatases; the low molecular weight protein-tyrosine phosphatases (LMW-PTPs); and the polymerase-histidinol phosphatases (PHP). Many BY kinases and tyrosine phosphatases can utilize host cell proteins as substrates, thereby contributing to bacterial pathogenicity. Bacterial tyrosine phosphorylation/dephosphorylation is also involved in biofilm formation and community development. The Porphyromonas gingivalis tyrosine phosphatase Ltp1 is involved in a restraint pathway that regulates heterotypic community development with Streptococcus gordonii. Ltp1 is upregulated by contact with S. gordonii and Ltp1 activity controls adhesin expression and levels of the interspecies signal AI-2.
Project description:Both mitogen-activated protein kinases and cyclin-dependent kinases play a role in hyphal development in Candida albicans. Using an oligonucleotide probe-based screen, we have isolated a new member of the Cdc2 kinase subfamily, designated Crk1 (Cdc2-related kinase). The protein sequence of Crk1 is most similar to those of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sgv1 and human Pkl1/Cdk9. In S. cerevisiae, CRK1 suppresses some, but not all, of the defects associated with an sgv1 mutant. Deleting both copies of CRK1 in C. albicans slows growth slightly but leads to a profound defect in hyphal development under all conditions examined. crk1/crk1 mutants are impaired in the induction of hypha-specific genes and are avirulent in mice. Consistent with this, ectopic expression of the Crk1 kinase domain (CRK1N) promotes filamentous or invasive growth in S. cerevisiae and hyphal development in C. albicans. The activity of Crk1 in S. cerevisiae requires Flo8 but is independent of Ste12 and Phd1. Similarly, Crk1 promotes filamentation through a route independent of Cph1 and Efg1 in C. albicans. RAS1(V13) can also activate filamentation in a cph1/cph1 efg1/efg1 double mutant. Interestingly, CRK1N produces florid hyphae in ras1/ras1 strains, while RAS1(V13) generates feeble hyphae in crk1/crk1 strains.