Image_2_The Glucan-Remodeling Enzyme Phr1p and the Chitin Synthase Chs1p Cooperate to Maintain Proper Nuclear Segregation and Cell Integrity in Candida albicans.TIF
GH72 family of β-(1,3)-glucanosyltransferases is unique to fungi and is required for cell wall biogenesis, morphogenesis, virulence, and in some species is essential for life. Candida albicans PHR1 and PHR2 are pH-regulated genes that encode GH72 enzymes highly similar to Gas1p of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. PHR1 is expressed at pH ≥ 5.5 while PHR2 is transcribed at pH ≤ 5.5. Both are essential for C. albicans morphogenesis and virulence. During growth at neutral-alkaline pH, Phr1p-GFP preferentially localizes to sites of active cell wall formation as the incipient bud, the mother-daughter neck, the bud periphery, and concentrates in the septum at cytokinesis. We further investigated this latter localization. In chs3Δ cells, lacking the chitin of the chitin ring and lateral cell wall, Phr1p-GFP still concentrated along the thin line of the primary septum formed by chitin deposited by chitin synthase I (whose catalytic subunit is Chs1p) suggesting that it plays a role during formation of the secondary septa. RO-09-3143, a highly specific inhibitor of Chs1p activity, inhibits septum formation and blocks cell division. However, alternative septa are produced and are crucial for cell survival. Phr1p-GFP is excluded from such aberrant septa. Finally, we determined the effects of RO-09-3143 in cells lacking Phr1p. PHR1 null mutant was more susceptible to the drug than the wild type. The phr1Δ cells were larger, devoid of septa, and underwent endomitosis and cell death. Phr1p and Chs1p cooperate in maintaining cell integrity and in coupling morphogenesis with nuclear division in C. albicans.