Contributions of Carnitine Acetyltransferases to Intracellular Acetyl Unit Transport in Candida albicans*


Transport of acetyl-CoA between intracellular compartments is mediated by carnitine acetyltransferases (Cats) that reversibly link acetyl units to the carrier molecule carnitine. The genome of the opportunistic pathogenic yeast Candida albicans encodes several (putative) Cats: the peroxisomal and mitochondrial Cat2 isoenzymes encoded by a single gene and the carnitine acetyltransferase homologs Yat1 and Yat2. To determine the contributions of the individual Cats, various carnitine acetyltransferase mutant strains were constructed and subjected to phenotypic and biochemical analyses on different carbon sources. We show that mitochondrial Cat2 is required for the intramitochondrial conversion of acetylcarnitine to acetyl-CoA, which is essential for a functional tricarboxylic acid cycle during growth on oleate, acetate, ethanol, and citrate. Yat1 is cytosolic and contributes to acetyl-CoA transport from the cytosol during growth on ethanol or acetate, but its activity is not required for growth on oleate. Yat2 is also cytosolic, but we were unable to attribute any function to this enzyme. Surprisingly, peroxisomal Cat2 is essential neither for export of acetyl units during growth on oleate nor for the import of acetyl units during growth on acetate or ethanol. Oxidation of fatty acids still takes place in the absence of peroxisomal Cat2, but biomass formation is absent, and the strain displays a growth delay on acetate and ethanol that can be partially rescued by the addition of carnitine. Based on our results, we present a model for the intracellular flow of acetyl units under various growth conditions and the roles of each of the Cats in this process

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This paper was published in PubMed Central.

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