Candida albicans is a major fungal pathogen of humans, accounting for 15% of nosocomial infections with an estimated attributable mortality of 47%. C. albicans is usually a benign member of the human microbiome in healthy people. Under constant exposure to highly dynamic environmental cues in diverse host niches, C. albicans has successfully evolved to adapt to both commensal and pathogenic lifestyles. The ability of C. albicans to undergo a reversible morphological transition from yeast to filamentous forms is a well-established virulent trait. Over the past few decades, a significant amount of research has been carried out to understand the underlying regulatory mechanisms, signaling pathways, and transcription factors that govern the C. albicans yeast-to-hyphal transition. This review will summarize our current understanding of well-elucidated signal transduction pathways that activate C. albicans hyphal morphogenesis in response to various environmental cues and the cell cycle machinery involved in the subsequent regulation and maintenance of hyphal morphogenesis.
Keywords: cell cycle regulation; hyphal activation; hyphal morphogenesis; polymorphism; signal transduction pathways.