We have previously reported the isolation of several clones from a cDNA expression library from Candida albicans, one of which was associated with a constitutively expressed 70-kDa protein. The moiety was present in the beta-mercaptoethanol extracts of cell walls from both blastoconidia and germ tubes. The surface expression of this moiety was revealed by an indirect immunofluorescence assay using affinity-purified antibody to the fusion protein produced by the clone. The 0.68-kb cDNA insert was sequenced. A database search revealed extensive homology with the 70-kDa family of stress or heat shock proteins (hsps). The 77% homology with another C. albicans HSP70 sequence suggested that this fragment represented a second member of the HSP70 family in this organism. Homology ranging from 65 to 76% was observed with members of four subfamilies (SSA, SSB, SSC, and SSD) of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae HSP70 gene family. The nucleic acid sequence and the deduced amino acid sequence of the open reading frame showed greatest homology with SSA1 and SSA2 sequences, and the gene corresponding to the cDNA clone was designated C. albicans SSA2. The relationship with the SSA family was supported by reactivity of the 70-kDa component with antibody recognizing the Ssa proteins of S. cerevisiae. The presence of an hsp70 in the cell wall was confirmed by two additional methods. Cell wall proteins were biotinylated with a non-membrane-permeable derivative to distinguish extracellular from cytosolic proteins. Biotinylated hsp70 was detected by Western blotting (immunoblotting) among the biotinylated components affinity purified by chromatography on streptavidin, thereby establishing its presence in the cell wall. Immunoelectron microscopy showed that the 70-kDa component was present at the cell surface as well as the outer surface of the plasma membrane and extended through the cell wall, occasionally appearing to reach the cell surface through channels. Northern (RNA) blot analysis showed that the gene was expressed in yeast cells growing in yeast extract-peptone medium at both 25 and 37 degrees C and in Lee medium at 25 degrees C and during formation of germ tubes in Lee medium 37 degrees C. No obvious increase in the expression level was detected after the temperature shift. Members of the hsp70 family have been reported to be immunoreactive. The fusion protein produced by the cDNA clone was recognized by serum from healthy individuals and patients with candidiasis. Since members of the hsp70 family of eucaryotic proteins are associated with chaperone and translocation functions, in addition to being immunogenic, this protein may play a role in the assembly and function of other cell wall proteins
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