Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 31140968
Link to DOI – 10.1099/mic.0.000815
Microbiology (Reading, Engl.) 2019 08; 165(8): 852-862
Annexins are multifunctional proteins that bind to phospholipid membranes in a calcium-dependent manner. Annexins play a myriad of critical and well-characterized roles in mammals, ranging from membrane repair to vesicular secretion. The role of annexins in the kingdoms of bacteria, protozoa and fungi have been largely overlooked. The fact that there is no known homologue of annexins in the yeast model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae may contribute to this gap in knowledge. However, annexins are found in most medically important fungal pathogens, with the notable exception of Candida albicans. In this study we evaluated the function of the one annexin gene in Cryptococcus neoformans, a causative agent of cryptococcosis. This gene CNAG_02415, is annotated in the C. neoformans genome as a target of calcineurin through its transcription factor Crz1, and we propose to update its name to cryptococcal annexin, AnnexinC1. C. neoformans strains deleted for AnnexinC1 revealed no difference in survival after exposure to various chemical stressors relative to wild-type strain, as well as no major alteration in virulence or mating. The only alteration observed in strains deleted for AnnexinC1 was a small increase in the titan cells’ formation in vitro. The preservation of annexins in many different fungal species suggests an important function, and therefore the lack of a strong phenotype for annexin-deficient C. neoformans indicates either the presence of redundant genes that can compensate for the absence of AnnexinC1 function or novel functions not revealed by standard assays of cell function and pathogenicity.