In Candida albicans, trehalose plays an essential role as a protector of cell integrity against oxidative challenge. A double homozygous mutant, tps1/tps1, deficient in trehalose synthesis, displayed severe cell mortality when exposed to high H(2)O(2) concentrations, compared with its congenic parental (CAI-4) strain (Alvarez-Peral et al., 2002). We have examined the putative role of a set of well-known antioxidant enzymes as components of the defence mechanism against oxidative challenges. When exposed to mild non-lethal oxidative treatment (0.5 mM H(2)O(2)), a significant induction of catalase, glutathione reductase (GR), and Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD) was recorded in tps1/tps1 exponential cultures. However, in CAI-4 cells, subjected to the same conditions, there was only a clear activation of catalase, Mn-SOD and Cu,Zn-SOD activities. The degree of activation was always much more pronounced in the trehalose-deficient mutant than in its wild-type counterpart, except for Mn-SOD activity. After exposure to severe oxidative stress (50 mM H(2)O(2)) only GR and catalase activities increased in tps1/tps1 cultures, whereas in CAI-4 cells GR but not catalase was induced. In both cell strains, 50 mM H(2)O(2) caused inhibition of the Mn- and Cu,Zn-SOD isozymes, this inhibition being more pronounced in tps1/tps1 cells. C. albicans is able to acquire adaptive oxidative tolerance by pretreatment with a low non-stressing concentration of H(2)O(2) before exposure to a drastic oxidative challenge. When these antioxidant activities were measured during the adaptive response, a greater degree of enzymatic antioxidant induction was consistently observed in the tps1/tps1 mutant with respect to the CAI-4 strain. Together with a higher intrinsic sensitivity of tps1/tps1 cells, we suggest that this unexpected increase might be explained in terms of a compensatory mechanism to overcome the lack of endogenous trehalose upon drastic oxidative exposure, although this induction was not sufficient to improve the percentage of cell viability.
Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.