The three clades of the telomere-associated TLO gene family of Candida albicans have different splicing, localization, and expression features

Eukaryot Cell. 2012 Oct;11(10):1268-75. doi: 10.1128/EC.00230-12. Epub 2012 Aug 24.


Candida albicans grows within a wide range of host niches, and this adaptability enhances its success as a commensal and as a pathogen. The telomere-associated TLO gene family underwent a recent expansion from one or two copies in other CUG clade members to 14 expressed copies in C. albicans. This correlates with increased virulence and clinical prevalence relative to those of other Candida clade species. The 14 expressed TLO gene family members have a conserved Med2 domain at the N terminus, suggesting a role in general transcription. The C-terminal half is more divergent, distinguishing three clades: clade α and clade β have no introns and encode proteins that localize primarily to the nucleus; clade γ sometimes undergoes splicing, and the gene products localize within the mitochondria as well as the nuclei. Additionally, TLOα genes are generally expressed at much higher levels than are TLOγ genes. We propose that expansion of the TLO gene family and the predicted role of Tlo proteins in transcription regulation provide C. albicans with the ability to adapt rapidly to the broad range of different environmental niches within the human host.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Candida albicans / genetics*
  • Candida albicans / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics*
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Introns
  • Mediator Complex / genetics
  • Mediator Complex / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Multigene Family*
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Subunits / genetics
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • RNA Splicing
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Mediator Complex
  • Protein Subunits
  • Telomere-Binding Proteins