Use of green fluorescent protein fusions to analyse the N- and C-terminal signal peptides of GPI-anchored cell wall proteins in Candida albicans

Mol Microbiol. 2003 Dec;50(5):1617-28. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2003.03794.x.


Glycophosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins account for 26-35% of the Candida albicans cell wall. To understand the signals that regulate these proteins' cell surface localization, green fluorescent protein (GFP) was fused to the N- and C-termini of the C. albicans cell wall proteins (CWPs) Hwp1p, Als3p and Rbt5p. C. albicans expressing all three fusion proteins were fluorescent at the cell surface. GFP was released from membrane fractions by PI-PLC and from cell walls by beta-glucanase, which implied that GFP was GPI-anchored to the plasma membrane and then covalently attached to cell wall glucans. Twenty and 25 amino acids, respectively, from the N- and C-termini of Hwp1p were sufficient to target GFP to the cell surface. C-terminal substitutions that are permitted by the omega rules (G613D, G613N, G613S, G613A, G615S) did not interfere with GFP localization, whereas some non-permitted substitutions (G613E, G613Q, G613R, G613T and G615Q) caused GFP to accumulate in intracellular ER-like structures and others (G615C, G613N/G615C and G613D/G615C) did not. These results imply that (i) GFP fusions can be used to analyse the N- and C-terminal signal peptides of GPI-anchored CWPs, (ii) the omega amino acid in Hwp1p is G613, and (iii) C can function at the omega+2 position in C. albicans GPI-anchored proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Candida albicans / genetics
  • Candida albicans / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Wall / metabolism*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutation
  • Protein Sorting Signals / genetics*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism*


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Glycosylphosphatidylinositols
  • HWP1 protein, Candida albicans
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins