Transcriptional regulation of carbohydrate metabolism in the human pathogen Candida albicans

PLoS Pathog. 2009 Oct;5(10):e1000612. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000612. Epub 2009 Oct 9.


Glycolysis is a metabolic pathway that is central to the assimilation of carbon for either respiration or fermentation and therefore is critical for the growth of all organisms. Consequently, glycolytic transcriptional regulation is important for the metabolic flexibility of pathogens in their attempts to colonize diverse niches. We investigated the transcriptional control of carbohydrate metabolism in the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans and identified two factors, Tye7p and Gal4p, as key regulators of glycolysis. When respiration was inhibited or oxygen was limited, a gal4tye7 C. albicans strain showed a severe growth defect when cultured on glucose, fructose or mannose as carbon sources. The gal4tye7 strain displayed attenuated virulence in both Galleria and mouse models as well, supporting the connection between pathogenicity and metabolism. Chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with microarray analysis (ChIP-CHIP) and transcription profiling revealed that Tye7p bound the promoter sequences of the glycolytic genes and activated their expression during growth on either fermentable or non-fermentable carbon sources. Gal4p also bound the glycolytic promoter sequences and activated the genes although to a lesser extent than Tye7p. Intriguingly, binding and activation by Gal4p was carbon source-dependent and much stronger during growth on media containing fermentable sugars than on glycerol. Furthermore, Tye7p and Gal4p were responsible for the complete induction of the glycolytic genes under hypoxic growth conditions. Tye7p and Gal4p also regulated unique sets of carbohydrate metabolic genes; Tye7p bound and activated genes involved in trehalose, glycogen, and glycerol metabolism, while Gal4p regulated the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. This suggests that Tye7p represents the key transcriptional regulator of carbohydrate metabolism in C. albicans and Gal4p provides a carbon source-dependent fine-tuning of gene expression while regulating the metabolic flux between respiration and fermentation pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Candida albicans / genetics*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Candida albicans / metabolism
  • Candida albicans / pathogenicity
  • Candidiasis / genetics
  • Candidiasis / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Citric Acid Cycle
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Fermentation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Glycolysis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Virulence


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • GAL4 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Oxygen