Conserved cAMP signaling cascades regulate fungal development and virulence

FEMS Microbiol Rev. 2001 May;25(3):349-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2001.tb00582.x.


Two well characterized signal transduction cascades regulating fungal development and virulence are the MAP kinase and cAMP signaling cascades. Here we review the current state of knowledge on cAMP signaling cascades in fungi. While the processes regulated by cAMP signaling in fungi are as diverse as the fungi themselves, the components involved in signal transduction are remarkably conserved. Fungal cAMP signaling cascades are also quite versatile, which is apparent from the differential regulation of similar biological processes. In this review we compare and contrast cAMP signaling pathways that regulate development in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and differentiation and virulence in the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans and the plant pathogen Ustilago maydis. We also present examples of interaction between the cAMP and MAP kinase signaling cascades in the regulation of fungal development and virulence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / metabolism
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / pathogenicity
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / immunology
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Fungi / pathogenicity*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / pathogenicity
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces / pathogenicity
  • Signal Transduction
  • Ustilago / metabolism
  • Ustilago / pathogenicity
  • Virulence


  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases