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Forward genetics in Candida albicans that reveals the Arp2/3 complex is required for hyphal formation, but not endocytosis.

Epp E, Walther A, Lépine G, Leon Z, Mullick A, Raymond M, Wendland J, Whiteway M

Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Montréal, QC H4P 2R2, Canada.

Candida albicans is a diploid fungal pathogen lacking a defined complete sexual cycle, and thus has been refractory to standard forward genetic analysis. Instead, transcription profiling and reverse genetic strategies based on Saccharomyces cerevisiae have typically been used to link genes to functions. To overcome restrictions inherent in such indirect approaches, we have investigated a forward genetic mutagenesis strategy based on the UAU1 technology. We screened 4700 random insertion mutants for defects in hyphal development and linked two new genes (ARP2 and VPS52) to hyphal growth. Deleting ARP2 abolished hyphal formation, generated round and swollen yeast phase cells, disrupted cortical actin patches and blocked virulence in mice. The mutants also showed a global lack of induction of hyphae-specific genes upon the yeast-to-hyphae switch. Surprisingly, both arp2 Delta/Delta and arp2 Delta/Delta arp3 Delta/Delta mutants were still able to endocytose FM4-64 and Lucifer Yellow, although as shown by time-lapse movies internalization of FM4-64 was somewhat delayed in mutant cells. Thus the non-essential role of the Arp2/3 complex discovered by forward genetic screening in C. albicans showed that uptake of membrane components from the plasma membrane to vacuolar structures is not dependent on this actin nucleating machinery.

Mol. Microbiol. 2010;75(5):1182-98.

Pubmed ID: 20141603

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