Coping with stress: calmodulin and calcineurin in model and pathogenic fungi

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Nov 28;311(4):1151-7. doi: 10.1016/s0006-291x(03)01528-6.


Calcium signaling via calmodulin and calcineurin is critical for the regulation of stress responses in fungi. The functions of calmodulin and calcineurin are largely conserved among pathogenic fungi and model fungi, however, the mechanisms of action have diverged. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an excellent model for understanding the framework of calcium-mediated signal transduction pathways, and considerable progress has been made in understanding the details of how Ca(2+)-calmodulin and calcineurin control adaptation to environmental stress. Studies using the divergent human pathogenic fungi Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans reveal that calcineurin is critical for virulence, yet it acts via distinct mechanisms in each fungus. These differences in function may reflect the requirements of each pathogen to survive inside the host, and illustrate that studies must be conducted in each organism in order to elucidate the details of the molecular mechanisms of calmodulin and calcineurin-mediated signaling pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Calcineurin / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling*
  • Calmodulin / metabolism*
  • Candida albicans / genetics
  • Candida albicans / metabolism
  • Candida albicans / pathogenicity
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / genetics
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / metabolism
  • Cryptococcus neoformans / pathogenicity
  • Fungi / genetics
  • Fungi / metabolism
  • Fungi / pathogenicity
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • Calmodulin
  • Calcineurin