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© Research
Publication : Eukaryotic cell

MFalpha1, the gene encoding the alpha mating pheromone of Candida albicans

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Eukaryotic cell - 01 Dec 2003

Panwar SL, Legrand M, Dignard D, Whiteway M, Magee PT

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 14665468

Eukaryotic Cell 2003 Dec;2(6):1350-60

Candida albicans, the single most frequently isolated human fungal pathogen, was thought to be asexual until the recent discovery of the mating-type-like locus (MTL). Homozygous MTL strains were constructed and shown to mate. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that opaque-phase cells are more efficient in mating than white-phase cells. The similarity of the genes involved in the mating pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and C. albicans includes at least one gene (KEX2) that is involved in the processing of the alpha mating pheromone in the two yeasts. Taking into account this similarity, we searched the C. albicans genome for sequences that would encode the alpha pheromone gene. Here we report the isolation and characterization of the gene MFalpha1, which codes for the precursor of the alpha mating pheromone in C. albicans. Two active alpha-peptides, 13 and 14 amino acids long, would be generated after the precursor molecule is processed in C. albicans. To examine the role of this gene in mating, we constructed an mfalpha1 null mutant of C. albicans. The mfalpha1 null mutant fails to mate as MTLalpha, while MTLa mfalpha1 cells are still mating competent. Experiments performed with the synthetic alpha-peptides show that they are capable of inducing growth arrest, as demonstrated by halo tests, and also induce shmooing in MTLa cells of C. albicans. These peptides are also able to complement the mating defect of an MTLalpha kex2 mutant strain when added exogenously, thereby confirming their roles as alpha mating pheromones.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14665468