The metabolic response of Candida albicans to farnesol under hyphae-inducing conditions

FEMS Yeast Res. 2012 Dec;12(8):879-89. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2012.00837.x. Epub 2012 Sep 4.


Farnesol is a quorum-sensing molecule (QSM) produced, and sensed, by the polymorphic fungus, Candida albicans. This cell-to-cell communication molecule is known to suppress the hyphal formation of C. albicans at high cell density. Despite many studies investigating the signalling mechanisms by which QSMs influence the morphogenesis of C. albicans, the downstream metabolic effect of these signalling pathways in response to farnesol-mediated morphogenesis remains obscure. Here, we have used metabolomics to investigate the metabolic response of C. albicans upon exposure to farnesol under hyphae-inducing conditions. We have found a general up-regulation of central carbon metabolic pathways when hyphal formation was suppressed by farnesol evidenced by a considerably larger number of central carbon metabolic intermediates detected under this condition at an overall lower intracellular level. By combining the metabolic profiles from farnesol-exposed cells with previous metabolomics data for C. albicans undergoing morphogenesis, we have identified several metabolic pathways that are likely to be associated with the morphogenetic process of C. albicans, as well as metabolic pathways such as those involved in lipid metabolism that appeared to be specifically affected by farnesol. Therefore, our results provide important new insights into the metabolic role of farnesol in C. albicans metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Candida albicans / drug effects*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Carbon / metabolism
  • Culture Media / analysis
  • Culture Media / metabolism
  • Farnesol / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / drug effects
  • Hyphae / drug effects*
  • Hyphae / growth & development
  • Metabolome / drug effects*
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Morphogenesis / drug effects
  • Quorum Sensing*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Culture Media
  • Fatty Acids
  • Farnesol
  • Carbon