The Candida albicans vacuole has previously been observed to undergo rapid expansion during the emergence of a germ tube from a yeast cell, to occupy the majority of the parent yeast cell. Furthermore, the yeast-to-hypha switch has been implicated in the virulence of this organism. The class C vps (vacuolar protein sorting) mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae are defective in multiple protein delivery pathways to the vacuole and prevacuole compartment. In this study C. albicans homologues of the S. cerevisiae class C VPS genes have been identified. Deletion of a C. albicans VPS11 homologue resulted in a number of phenotypes that closely resemble those of the class C vps mutants of S. cerevisiae, including the absence of a vacuolar compartment. The C. albicans vps11Δ mutant also had much-reduced secreted lipase and aspartyl protease activities. Furthermore, vps11Δ strains were defective in yeast-hypha morphogenesis. Upon serum induction of filamentous growth, mutants showed delayed emergence of germ tubes, had a reduced apical extension rate compared to those of control strains, and were unable to form mature hyphae. These results suggest that Vps11p-mediated trafficking steps are necessary to support the rapid emergence and extension of the germ tube from the parent yeast cell.Peer-reviewedPublisher Versio
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