Dimorphism in fungal pathogens: Candida albicans and Ustilago maydis--similar inputs, different outputs

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2001 Apr;4(2):214-21. doi: 10.1016/s1369-5274(00)00191-0.


The ability to switch between a yeast-like form and a filamentous form is an extended characteristic among several fungi. In pathogenic fungi, this capacity has been correlated with virulence because along the infection process, dimorphic transitions are often required. Two well-known organisms for which dimorphism have been studied are the pathogenic fungi Candida albicans and Ustilago maydis, which infect mammals and corn, respectively. In both cases, several signal transduction pathways have been defined. Not surprisingly, these pathways are similar to the well-known pathways involved in the pseudohyphal differentiation that some Saccharomyces cerevisiae diploid strains show when nutrients are starved. However, in spite of similarities at the molecular level, strikingly, fungi use similar pathways to respond to environmental inputs, but with differing outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Candida albicans / cytology
  • Candida albicans / genetics
  • Candida albicans / growth & development*
  • Candida albicans / pathogenicity*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal*
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Models, Genetic
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Signal Transduction
  • Ustilago / cytology
  • Ustilago / genetics
  • Ustilago / growth & development*
  • Ustilago / pathogenicity*
  • Virulence / genetics


  • Fungal Proteins