Select strains of Candida albicans switch reversibly and at extremely high frequency between a white and an opaque colony-forming phenotype, which has been referred to as the white-opaque transition. Cells in the white phase exhibit a cellular phenotype indistinguishable from that of most standard strains of C. albicans, but cells in the opaque phase exhibit an unusually large, elongate cellular shape. In comparing the white and opaque cellular phenotypes, the following findings are demonstrated. (i) The surface of the cell wall of maturing opaque cells when viewed by scanning electron microscopy exhibits a unique pimpled, or punctate, pattern not observed in white cells or standard strains of C. albicans. (ii) The dynamics of actin localization which accompanies opaque-cell growth first follows the pattern of budding cells during early opaque-bud growth and then the pattern of hypha-forming cells during late opaque-bud growth. (iii) A hypha-specific cell surface antigen is also expressed on the surface of opaque budding cells. (iv) An opaque-specific surface antigen is distributed in a punctate pattern
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