BRG1 and NRG1 Form a Novel Feedback Circuit Regulating Candida Albicans Hypha Formation and Virulence

Mol Microbiol. 2012 Aug;85(3):557-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2012.08127.x. Epub 2012 Jul 5.


In the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans both cellular morphology and the capacity to cause disease are regulated by the transcriptional repressor Nrg1p. One of the genes repressed by Nrg1p is BRG1, which encodes a putative GATA family transcription factor. Deletion of both copies of this gene prevents hypha formation. We discovered that BRG1 overexpression is sufficient to overcome Nrg1p-mediated repression and drive the morphogenetic shift from yeast to hyphae even in the absence of environmental stimuli. We further observed that expression of BRG1 influences the stability of the NRG1 transcript, thus controlling filamentation through a feedback loop. Analysis of this phenomenon revealed that BRG1 expression is required for the induction of an antisense NRG1 transcript. This is the first demonstration of a role for mRNA stability in regulating the key C. albicans virulence trait: the ability to form hyphae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Candida albicans / genetics*
  • Candida albicans / metabolism
  • Candida albicans / pathogenicity*
  • Female
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • GATA Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • GATA Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal*
  • Hyphae / genetics*
  • Hyphae / growth & development
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Open Reading Frames
  • RNA Stability
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Virulence


  • Fungal Proteins
  • GATA Transcription Factors
  • Repressor Proteins