Reciprocal functions of Cryptococcus neoformans copper homeostasis machinery during pulmonary infection and meningoencephalitis.

Published online

Journal Article

Copper homeostasis is important for virulence of the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, which can cause lethal meningoencephalitis in humans. Cryptococcus cells encounter high copper levels in the lung, where infection is initiated, and low copper levels in the brain. Here we demonstrate that two Cryptococcus copper transporters, Ctr1 and Ctr4, differentially influence fungal survival during pulmonary infection and the onset of meningoencephalitis. Protein Ctr1 is rapidly degraded under the high-copper conditions found in infected lungs, and its loss has no effect in fungal virulence in mice. By contrast, deleting CTR4 results in a hypervirulent phenotype. Overexpressing either Ctr1 or Ctr4 leads to profound reductions in fungal burden in the lung. However, during the onset of meningoencephalitis, expression of the copper transporters is induced and is critical for Cryptococcus virulence. Our work demonstrates that the fungal cells switch between copper detoxification and acquisition to address different copper stresses in the host.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sun, T-S; Ju, X; Gao, H-L; Wang, T; Thiele, DJ; Li, J-Y; Wang, Z-Y; Ding, C

Published Date

  • November 24, 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 5 /

Start / End Page

  • 5550 -

PubMed ID

  • 25417972

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25417972

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2041-1723

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/ncomms6550


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England