Candida is the fourth most common organism responsible for bloodstream infections in many intensive care units, with Candida albicans being the most predominant species isolated in such cases. It has previously been shown that candidal phospholipase B, encoded by the PLB1 gene, is an important virulence factor for C. albicans pathogenesis. In this study, the effects of environmental factors (carbohydrate source and pH) and physiological conditions (serum, phospholipids and temperature) on the expression of PLB1 by C. albicans cells grown in rich [Sabouraud dextrose broth (SB) or yeast extract/peptone/dextrose] or chemically defined [Lee's, RPMI-1640 or yeast nitrogen base (YNB)] media were investigated. Northern blot analyses revealed that PLB1 mRNA was expressed in C. albicans cells grown in rich media at 30 degrees C but not at 37 degrees C. However, the protein Plb1p was detected in fungal cells growing at 37 degrees C in SB, as determined by Western blot analysis, indicating that although the mRNA for this gene was not detected, the actual gene product was present at this temperature. Expression of PLB1 was detected in cells grown in YNB/glucose at 30 degrees C but not at 37 degrees C. However, growth of C. albicans in YNB/glucose supplemented with serum and phospholipids resulted in expression of PLB1 at 37 degrees C also. Additionally, acidic pH induced higher levels of PLB1 mRNA expression compared to neutral pH, while the morphological form of C. albicans did not have any influence on the expression of this gene. The studies described here show that the expression of PLB1 is regulated by nutritional supplementation, environmental factors and the growth phase of the C. albicans cells, as well as by physiological conditions. The differential expression of PLB1 in response to environmental factors may be correlated to host-specific components available to C. albicans during infection.