White cells facilitate opposite- and same-sex mating of opaque cells in Candida albicans

PLoS Genet. 2014 Oct 16;10(10):e1004737. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004737. eCollection 2014 Oct.

Abstract

Modes of sexual reproduction in eukaryotic organisms are extremely diverse. The human fungal pathogen Candida albicans undergoes a phenotypic switch from the white to the opaque phase in order to become mating-competent. In this study, we report that functionally- and morphologically-differentiated white and opaque cells show a coordinated behavior during mating. Although white cells are mating-incompetent, they can produce sexual pheromones when treated with pheromones of the opposite mating type or by physically interacting with opaque cells of the opposite mating type. In a co-culture system, pheromones released by white cells induce opaque cells to form mating projections, and facilitate both opposite- and same-sex mating of opaque cells. Deletion of genes encoding the pheromone precursor proteins and inactivation of the pheromone response signaling pathway (Ste2-MAPK-Cph1) impair the promoting role of white cells (MTLa) in the sexual mating of opaque cells. White and opaque cells communicate via a paracrine pheromone signaling system, creating an environment conducive to sexual mating. This coordination between the two different cell types may be a trade-off strategy between sexual and asexual lifestyles in C. albicans.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Candida albicans / cytology*
  • Candida albicans / pathogenicity
  • Candida albicans / physiology*
  • Candidiasis / pathology
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Dermatomycoses / pathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Genes, Mating Type, Fungal
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Pheromones / metabolism*
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism

Substances

  • CPH1 protein, Candida albicans
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Pheromones
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE56039