MAP kinases in eukaryotic cells are well known for transducing a variety of extracellular signals to regulate cell growth and differentiation. Recently, MAP kinases homologous to the yeast Fus3/Kss1 MAP kinases have been identified in several fungal pathogens and found to be important for appressorium formation, invasive hyphal growth, and fungal pathogenesis. This MAP kinase pathway also controls diverse growth or differentiation processes, including conidiation, conidial germination, and female fertility. MAP kinases homologous to yeast Slt2 and Hog1 have also been characterized in Candida albicans and Magnaporthe grisea. Mutants disrupted of the Slt2 homologues have weak cell walls, altered hyphal growth, and reduced virulence. The Hog1 homologues are dispensable for growth but are essential for regulating responses to hyperosmotic stress in C. albicans and M. grisea. Overall, recent studies have indicated that MAP kinase pathways may play important roles in regulating growth, differentiation, survival, and pathogenesis in fungal pathogens.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.