Author(s): Miller MG, Johnson AD
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Abstract Discovered over a decade ago, white-opaque switching in the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans is an alternation between two quasistable, heritable transcriptional states. Here, we show that white-opaque switching and sexual mating are both controlled by mating type locus homeodomain proteins and that opaque cells mate approximately 10(6) times more efficiently than do white cells. These results show that opaque cells are a mating-competent form of C. albicans and that this pathogen undergoes a white-to-opaque switch as a critical step in the mating process. As white cells are generally more robust in a mammalian host than are opaque cells, this strategy allows the organism to survive the rigors of life within a mammalian host, yet generate mating-competent cells.
This article was published in Cell
and referenced in Fungal Genomics & Biology