Author(s): Feng Q, Summers E, Guo B, Fink G
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Abstract Serum induces Candida albicans to make a rapid morphological change from the yeast cell form to hyphae. Contrary to the previous reports, we found that serum albumin does not play a critical role in this morphological change. Instead, a filtrate (molecular mass, <1 kDa) devoid of serum albumin induces hyphae. To study genes controlling this response, we have isolated the RAS1 gene from C. albicans by complementation. The Candida Ras1 protein, like Ras1 and Ras2 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has a long C-terminal extension. Although RAS1 appears to be the only RAS gene present in the C. albicans genome, strains homozygous for a deletion of RAS1 (ras1-2/ras1-3) are viable. The Candida ras1-2/ras1-3 mutant fails to form germ tubes and hyphae in response to serum or to a serum filtrate but does form pseudohyphae. Moreover, strains expressing the dominant active RAS1(V13) allele manifest enhanced hyphal growth, whereas those expressing a dominant negative RAS1(A16) allele show reduced hyphal growth. These data show that low-molecular-weight molecules in serum induce hyphal differentiation in C. albicans through a Ras-mediated signal transduction pathway.
This article was published in J Bacteriol
and referenced in Fungal Genomics & Biology