Intracellular Action of a Secreted Peptide Required for Fungal Virulence.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Quorum sensing (QS) is a bacterial communication mechanism in which secreted signaling molecules impact population function and gene expression. QS-like phenomena have been reported in eukaryotes with largely unknown contributing molecules, functions, and mechanisms. We identify Qsp1, a secreted peptide, as a central signaling molecule that regulates virulence in the fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. QSP1 is a direct target of three transcription factors required for virulence, and qsp1Δ mutants exhibit attenuated infection, slowed tissue accumulation, and greater control by primary macrophages. Qsp1 mediates autoregulatory signaling that modulates secreted protease activity and promotes cell wall function at high cell densities. Peptide production requires release from a secreted precursor, proQsp1, by a cell-associated protease, Pqp1. Qsp1 sensing requires an oligopeptide transporter, Opt1, and remarkably, cytoplasmic expression of mature Qsp1 complements multiple phenotypes of qsp1Δ. Thus, C. neoformans produces an autoregulatory peptide that matures extracellularly but functions intracellularly to regulate virulence.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Homer, CM; Summers, DK; Goranov, AI; Clarke, SC; Wiesner, DL; Diedrich, JK; Moresco, JJ; Toffaletti, D; Upadhya, R; Caradonna, I; Petnic, S; Pessino, V; Cuomo, CA; Lodge, JK; Perfect, J; Yates, JR; Nielsen, K; Craik, CS; Madhani, HD

Published Date

  • June 8, 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 19 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 849 - 864

PubMed ID

  • 27212659

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5186401

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1934-6069

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.chom.2016.05.001


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States