Candida albicans is a polymorphic fungus that has the ability to rapidly switch between yeast and filamentous forms. The morphological transition appears to be a critical virulence factor of this fungus. Recent studies have elucidated the signal transduction pathways and quorum sensing molecules that affect the morphological transition of C. albicans. The metabolic mechanisms that recognize, and respond to, such signaling molecules and promote the morphological changes at a system level, however, remain unknown. Here we review the metabolic basis of C. albicans morphogenesis and we discuss the role of primary metabolic pathways and quorum sensing molecules in the morphogenetic process. We have reconstructed, in silico, the central carbon metabolism and sterol biosynthesis of C. albicans based on its genome sequence, highlighting the metabolic pathways associated with the dimorphic transition and virulence as well as pathways involved in the biosynthesis of important quorum sensing molecules.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.