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Polarized Hyphal Growth in Candida albicans Requires the Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein Homolog Wal1p†

Authors
Publisher
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Source
PMC
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Disciplines
  • Biology
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Abstract

The yeast-to-hypha transition is a key feature in the cell biology of the dimorphic human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. Reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton is required for this dimorphic switch in Candida. We show that C. albicans WAL1 mutants with both copies of the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) homolog deleted do not form hyphae under all inducing conditions tested. Growth of the wild-type and wal1 mutant strains was monitored by in vivo time-lapse microscopy both during yeast-like growth and under hypha-inducing conditions. Isotropic bud growth produced round wal1 cells and unusual mother cell growth. Defects in the organization of the actin cytoskeleton resulted in the random localization of actin patches. Furthermore, wal1 cells exhibited defects in the endocytosis of the lipophilic dye FM4-64, contained increased numbers of vacuoles compared to the wild type, and showed defects in bud site selection. Under hypha-inducing conditions wal1 cells were able to initiate polarized morphogenesis, which, however, resulted in the formation of pseudohyphal cells. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Wal1p showed patch-like localization in emerging daughter cells during the yeast growth phase and at the hyphal tips under hypha-inducing conditions. Wal1p-GFP localization largely overlapped with that of actin. Our results demonstrate that Wal1p is required for the organization of the actin cytoskeleton and hyphal morphogenesis in C. albicans as well as for endocytosis and vacuole morphology.

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