Candida albicans contains copper- and zinc-containing superoxide dismutase but also two manganese-containing superoxide dismutases (MnSODs), one in the cytosol and the other in the mitochondria. Among these, the SOD2 gene encoding mitochondrial MnSOD was disrupted and overexpressed to investigate its roles in C. albicans. The null mutant lacking mitochondrial MnSOD was more sensitive than wild-type cells to various stresses, such as redox-cycling agents, heating, ethanol, high concentration of sodium or potassium and 99.9% O2. Interestingly, the sod2/sod2 mutant was rather more resistant to lithium and diamide than the wild-type, whereas overexpression of SOD2 increased susceptibility of C. albicans to these compounds. The inverse effect of mitochondrial MnSOD on lithium toxicity was relieved when the sod2/sod2 and SOD2-overexpressing cells were grown on the synthetic dextrose medium containing sulphur compounds such as methionine, cysteine, glutathione or sulphite, indicating that mitochondrial MnSOD may affect lithium toxicity through sulphur metabolism. Moreover, disruption or overexpression of SOD2 increased or decreased glutathione reductase activity and cyanide-resistant respiration by alternative oxidase, respectively. Taken together, these findings suggest that mitochondrial MnSOD is important for stress responses, lithium toxicity and cyanide-resistant respiration of C. albicans.
Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.