Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 31736226
Link to DOI – 10.1111/cmi.13140
Cell Microbiol 2020 02; 22(2): e13140
Hypoxic adaptation pathways, essential for Candida albicans pathogenesis, are tied to its transition from a commensal to a pathogen. Herein, we identify a WW domain-containing protein, Ifu5, as a determinant of hypoxic adaptation that also impacts normoxic responses in this fungus. Ifu5 activity supports glycosylation homeostasis via the Cek1 mitogen-activated protein kinase-dependent up-regulation of PMT1, under normoxia. Transcriptome analysis of ifu5Δ/Δ under normoxia shows a significant up-regulation of the hypoxic regulator EFG1 and EFG1-dependent genes. We demonstrate physical interaction between Ifu5 by virtue of its WW domain and Efg1 that represses EFG1 expression under normoxia. This interaction is lost under hypoxic growth conditions, relieving EFG1 repression. Hypoxic adaptation processes such as filamentation and biofilm formation are affected in ifu5Δ/Δ cells revealing the role of Ifu5 in hypoxic signalling and modulating pathogenicity traits of C. albicans under varied oxygen conditions. Additionally, the WW domain of Ifu5 facilitates its role in hypoxic adaptation, revealing the importance of this domain in providing a platform to integrate various cellular processes. These data forge a relationship between Efg1 and Ifu5 that fosters the role of Ifu5 in hypoxic adaptation thus illuminating novel strategies to undermine the growth of C. albicans.