The contribution of Candida albicans vacuolar ATPase subunit V?B, encoded by VMA2, to stress response, autophagy, and virulence is independent of environmental pH.
ABSTRACT: Candida albicans vacuoles are central to many critical biological processes, including filamentation and in vivo virulence. The V-ATPase proton pump is a multisubunit complex responsible for organellar acidification and is essential for vacuolar biogenesis and function. To study the function of the V?B subunit of C. albicans V-ATPase, we constructed a tetracycline-regulatable VMA2 mutant, tetR-VMA2. Inhibition of VMA2 expression resulted in the inability to grow at alkaline pH and altered resistance to calcium, cold temperature, antifungal drugs, and growth on nonfermentable carbon sources. Furthermore, V-ATPase was unable to fully assemble at the vacuolar membrane and was impaired in proton transport and ATPase-specific activity. VMA2 repression led to vacuolar alkalinization in addition to abnormal vacuolar morphology and biogenesis. Key virulence-related traits, including filamentation and secretion of degradative enzymes, were markedly inhibited. These results are consistent with previous studies of C. albicans V-ATPase; however, differential contributions of the V-ATPase Vo and V? subunits to filamentation and secretion are observed. We also make the novel observation that inhibition of C. albicans V-ATPase results in increased susceptibility to osmotic stress. Notably, V-ATPase inhibition under conditions of nitrogen starvation results in defects in autophagy. Lastly, we show the first evidence that V-ATPase contributes to virulence in an acidic in vivo system by demonstrating that the tetR-VMA2 mutant is avirulent in a Caenorhabditis elegans infection model. This study illustrates the fundamental requirement of V-ATPase for numerous key virulence-related traits in C. albicans and demonstrates that the contribution of V-ATPase to virulence is independent of host pH.
Project description:The vacuolar membrane ATPase (V-ATPase) is a protein complex that utilizes ATP hydrolysis to drive protons from the cytosol into the vacuolar lumen, acidifying the vacuole and modulating several key cellular response systems in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To study the contribution of V-ATPase to the biology and virulence attributes of the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans, we created a conditional mutant in which VMA3 was placed under the control of a tetracycline-regulated promoter (tetR-VMA3 strain). Repression of VMA3 in the tetR-VMA3 strain prevents V-ATPase assembly at the vacuolar membrane and reduces concanamycin A-sensitive ATPase-specific activity and proton transport by more than 90%. Loss of C. albicans V-ATPase activity alkalinizes the vacuolar lumen and has pleiotropic effects, including pH-dependent growth, calcium sensitivity, and cold sensitivity. The tetR-VMA3 strain also displays abnormal vacuolar morphology, indicative of defective vacuolar membrane fission. The tetR-VMA3 strain has impaired aspartyl protease and lipase secretion, as well as attenuated virulence in an in vitro macrophage killing model. Repression of VMA3 suppresses filamentation, and V-ATPase-dependent filamentation defects are not rescued by overexpression of RIM8, MDS3, EFG1, CST20, or UME6, which encode positive regulators of filamentation. Specific chemical inhibition of Vma3p function also results in defective filamentation. These findings suggest either that V-ATPase functions downstream of these transcriptional regulators or that V-ATPase function during filamentation involves independent mechanisms and alternative signaling pathways. Taken together, these data indicate that V-ATPase activity is a fundamental requirement for several key virulence-associated traits in C. albicans.
Project description:To investigate the pre-vacuolar secretory pathway in Candida albicans, we cloned and analyzed the C. albicans homolog of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae vacuolar protein sorting gene VPS1. C. albicans VPS1 encodes a predicted 694-aa dynamin-like GTPase that is 73.3% similar to S. cerevisiae Vps1p. Plasmids bearing C. albicans VPS1 complemented the temperature-sensitive growth, abnormal class F vacuolar morphology, and carboxypeptidase missorting of a S. cerevisiae vps1 null mutant. To study VPS1 function in C. albicans, a conditional mutant strain (tetR-VPS1) was generated by deleting the first allele of VPS1 and placing the second allele under control of a tetracycline-regulatable promoter. With doxycycline, the tetR-VPS1 mutant was hyper-susceptible to sub-inhibitory concentrations of fluconazole, but not amphotericin B, 5-fluorocytosine, or non-specific osmotic stresses. The repressed tetR-VPS1 mutant was defective in filamentation and secreted less extracellular protease activity. Biofilm production and filamentation within the biofilm were markedly reduced. These results suggest that C. albicans VPS1 has a key role in several important virulence-related phenotypes.
Project description:Candida albicans is a common cause of catheter-related bloodstream infections (CR-BSI), in part due to its strong propensity to form biofilms. Drug repurposing is an approach that might identify agents that are able to overcome antifungal drug resistance within biofilms. Quinacrine (QNC) is clinically active against the eukaryotic protozoan parasites Plasmodium and Giardia. We sought to investigate the antifungal activity of QNC against C. albicans biofilms. C. albicans biofilms were incubated with QNC at serially increasing concentrations (4 to 2,048 ?g/ml) and assessed using a 2,3-bis-(2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium-5-carboxanilide (XTT) assay in a static microplate model. Combinations of QNC and standard antifungals were assayed using biofilm checkerboard analyses. To define a mechanism of action, QNC was assessed for the inhibition of filamentation, effects on endocytosis, and pH-dependent activity. High-dose QNC was effective for the prevention and treatment of C. albicans biofilms in vitro. QNC with fluconazole had no interaction, while the combination of QNC and either caspofungin or amphotericin B demonstrated synergy. QNC was most active against planktonic growth at alkaline pH. QNC dramatically inhibited filamentation. QNC accumulated within vacuoles as expected and caused defects in endocytosis. A tetracycline-regulated VMA3 mutant lacking vacuolar ATPase (V-ATPase) function demonstrated increased susceptibility to QNC. These experiments indicate that QNC is active against C. albicans growth in a pH-dependent manner. Although QNC activity is not biofilm specific, QNC is effective in the prevention and treatment of biofilms. QNC antibiofilm activity likely occurs via several independent mechanisms: vacuolar alkalinization, inhibition of endocytosis, and impaired filamentation. Further investigation of QNC for the treatment and prevention of biofilm-related Candida CR-BSI is warranted.
Project description:Hospitalized ill patients, at risk for invasive candidiasis, often receive multiple medications, including proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). The antifungal fluconazole perturbs the vacuolar proton ATPase. The PPI omeprazole antagonized Candida albicans growth inhibition by fluconazole. A C. albicans codon-adapted pHluorin, Ca.pHluorin, was generated to measure cytosolic pH. The fungal cytosol was acidified by omeprazole and realkalinized by coexposure to fluconazole. Vacuolar pH was alkalinized by fluconazole. Off-target effects of any medication on fungal pathogens may occur.
Project description:Vacuolar H(+)-ATPases (V-ATPases) acidify intracellular organelles and help to regulate overall cellular pH. Yeast vma mutants lack V-ATPase activity and allow exploration of connections between cellular pH, iron, and redox homeostasis common to all eukaryotes. A previous microarray study in a vma mutant demonstrated up-regulation of multiple iron uptake genes under control of Aft1p (the iron regulon) and only one antioxidant gene, the peroxiredoxin TSA2 (Milgrom, E., Diab, H., Middleton, F., and Kane, P. M. (2007) Loss of vacuolar proton-translocating ATPase activity in yeast results in chronic oxidative stress. J. Biol. Chem. 282, 7125-7136). Fluorescent biosensors placing GFP under transcriptional control of either an Aft1-dependent promoter (P(FIT2)-GFP) or the TSA2 promoter (P(TSA2)-GFP) were constructed to monitor transcriptional signaling. Both biosensors were up-regulated in the vma2? mutant, and acute V-ATPase inhibition with concanamycin A induced coordinate up-regulation from both promoters. PTSA2-GFP induction was Yap1p-dependent, indicating an oxidative stress signal. Total cell iron measurements indicate that the vma2? mutant is iron-replete, despite up-regulation of the iron regulon. Acetic acid up-regulated P(FIT2)-GFP expression in wild-type cells, suggesting that loss of pH control contributes to an iron deficiency signal in the mutant. Iron supplementation significantly decreased P(FIT2)-GFP expression and, surprisingly, restored P(TSA2)-GFP to wild-type levels. A tsa2? mutation induced both nuclear localization of Aft1p and P(FIT2)-GFP expression. The data suggest a novel function for Tsa2p as a negative regulator of Aft1p-driven transcription, which is induced in V-ATPase mutants to limit transcription of the iron regulon. This represents a new mechanism bridging the antioxidant and iron-regulatory pathways that is intimately linked to pH homeostasis.
Project description:Vacuolar proton-translocating ATPase (V-ATPase) is located in fungal vacuolar membranes. It is involved in multiple cellular processes, including the maintenance of intracellular ion homeostasis by maintaining acidic pH within the cell. The importance of V-ATPase in virulence has been demonstrated in several pathogenic fungi, including Candida albicans. However, it remains to be determined in the clinically important fungal pathogen Candida glabrata. Increasing multidrug resistance of C. glabrata is becoming a critical issue in the clinical setting. In the current study, we demonstrated that the plecomacrolide V-ATPase inhibitor bafilomycin B1 exerts a synergistic effect with azole antifungal agents, including fluconazole and voriconazole, against a C. glabrata wild-type strain. Furthermore, the deletion of the VPH2 gene encoding an assembly factor of V-ATPase was sufficient to interfere with V-ATPase function in C. glabrata, resulting in impaired pH homeostasis in the vacuole and increased sensitivity to a variety of environmental stresses, such as alkaline conditions (pH 7.4), ion stress (Na+, Ca2+, Mn2+, and Zn2+ stress), exposure to the calcineurin inhibitor FK506 and antifungal agents (azoles and amphotericin B), and iron limitation. In addition, virulence of C. glabrata ?vph2 mutant in a mouse model of disseminated candidiasis was reduced in comparison with that of the wild-type and VPH2-reconstituted strains. These findings support the notion that V-ATPase is a potential attractive target for the development of effective antifungal strategies.
Project description:Candida albicans occupies diverse ecological niches within the host and must tolerate a wide range of environmental pH. The plasma membrane H+-ATPase Pma1p is the major regulator of cytosolic pH in fungi. Pma1p extrudes protons from the cytosol to maintain neutral-to-alkaline pH and is a potential drug target due to its essentiality and fungal specificity. We characterized mutants in which one allele of PMA1 has been deleted and the other truncated by 18-38 amino acids. Increasing C-terminal truncation caused corresponding decreases in plasma membrane ATPase-specific activity and cytosolic pH. Pma1p is regulated by glucose: glucose rapidly activates the ATPase, causing a sharp increase in cytosolic pH. Increasing Pma1p truncation severely impaired this glucose response. Pma1p truncation also altered cation responses, disrupted vacuolar morphology and pH, and reduced filamentation competence. Early studies of cytosolic pH and filamentation have described a rapid, transient alkalinization of the cytosol preceding germ tube formation; Pma1p has been proposed as a regulator of this process. We find Pma1p plays a role in the establishment of cell polarity, and distribution of Pma1p is non-homogenous in emerging hyphae. These findings suggest a role of PMA1 in cytosolic alkalinization and in the specialized form of polarized growth that is filamentation.
Project description:Hyperosmotic stress activates an array of cellular detoxification mechanisms, including the high-osmolarity glycerol (HOG) pathway. We report here that vacuolar H(+)-ATPase (V-ATPase) activity helps provide osmotic tolerance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. V-ATPase subunit genes exhibit complex haploinsufficiency interactions with HOG pathway components. vma mutants lacking V-ATPase function are sensitive to high concentrations of salt and exhibit Hog1p activation even at low salt concentrations, as demonstrated by phosphorylation of Hog1p, a shift in Hog1-green fluorescent protein localization, transcriptional activation of a subset of HOG pathway effectors, and transcriptional inhibition of parallel mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway targets. vma2? hog1? and vma3? pbs2? double mutants have a synthetic growth phenotype, poor salt tolerance, and an aberrant, hyper-elongated morphology on solid media, accompanied by activation of a filamentous response element-LacZ construct, indicating cross talk into the filamentous growth pathway. Vacuoles isolated from wild-type cells briefly exposed to salt show higher levels of V-ATPase activity, and Na(+)/H(+) exchange in isolated vacuolar vesicles suggests a biochemical basis for the genetic interactions observed. V-ATPase activity is upregulated during salt stress by increasing assembly of the catalytic V(1) sector with the membrane-bound V(o) sector. Together, these data suggest that the V-ATPase acts in parallel with the HOG pathway in order to mediate salt detoxification.
Project description:Candida albicans is an important cause of morbidity in hospitalized and immunosuppressed patients. Virulence factors of C. albicans include: filamentation, proteinases, adherence proteins and biofilm formation. The objective of this work was to use Galleria mellonella as a model to study the roles of C. albicans filamentation in virulence. We focused our study to five genes BCR1, FLO8, KEM1, SUV3 and TEC1 that have been shown to play a role in filamentation. Filaments are necessary for biofilm formation and evading interaction with macrophages in mammalian infections. Among the five mutant strain tested, we found that only the flo8/flo8 mutant strain did not form filaments within G. mellonella. This strain also exhibited reduced virulence in the larvae. Another strain that exhibited reduced pathogenicity in the G. mellonella model was tec1/tec1 but by contrast, the tec1/tec1 strain retained the ability to form filaments. Overexpression of TEC1 in the flo8/flo8 mutant restored filamentation but did not restore virulence in the larvae as well as in a mouse model of C. albicans infection. The filamentation phenotype did not affect the ability of hemocytes, the immune cells of G. mellonella, to associate with the various mutant strains of C. albicans. The capacities of the tec1/tec1 mutant and the flo8/flo8 TDH3-TEC1 strains to form filaments with impaired virulence suggest that filamentation alone is not sufficient to kill G. mellonella and suggest other virulence factors may be associated with genes that regulate filamentation.
Project description:The CCAAT motif is ubiquitous in promoters of eukaryotic genomes. The CCAAT-binding complex (CBC) is conserved across a wide range of organisms, specifically recognizes the CCAAT motif, and modulates transcription directly or in cooperation with other transcription factors. In Candida albicans, CBC is known to interact with the repressor Hap43 to negatively regulate iron utilization genes in response to iron deprivation. However, the extent of additional functions of CBC is unclear. In this study, we explored new roles of CBC in C. albicans and found that CBC pleiotropically regulates many virulence traits in vitro, including negative control of genes responsible for ribosome biogenesis and translation and positive regulation of low-nitrogen-induced filamentation. In addition, C. albicans CBC is involved in utilization of host proteins as nitrogen sources and in repression of cellular flocculation and adhesin gene expression. Moreover, our epistasis analyses suggest that CBC acts as a downstream effector of Rhb1-TOR signaling and controls low-nitrogen-induced filamentation via the Mep2-Ras1-protein kinase A (PKA)/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Importantly, the phenotypes identified here are all independent of Hap43. Finally, deletion of genes encoding CBC components slightly attenuated C. albicans virulence in both zebrafish and murine models of infection. Our results thus highlight new roles of C. albicans CBC in regulating multiple virulence traits in response to environmental perturbations and, finally, suggest potential targets for antifungal therapies as well as extending our understanding of the pathogenesis of other fungal pathogens.