Copper Availability Influences the Transcriptomic Response of Candida albicans to Fluconazole Stress.
The ability of pathogens to maintain homeostatic levels of essential biometals is known to be important for survival and virulence in a host, which itself regulates metal availability as part of its response to infection. Given this importance of metal homeostasis, we sought to address how the availability of copper in particular impacts the response of the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans to treatment with the antifungal drug fluconazole. The present study reports whole transcriptome analysis via time-course RNA-seq of C. albicans cells exposed to fluconazole with and without 10 µM supplemental CuSO4 added to the growth medium. The results show widespread impacts of small changes in Cu availability on the transcriptional response of C. albicans to fluconazole. Of the 2359 genes that were differentially expressed under conditions of cotreatment, 50% were found to be driven uniquely by exposure to both Cu and fluconazole. The breadth of metabolic processes that were affected by cotreatment illuminates a fundamental intersectionality between Cu metabolism and fungal response to drug stress. More generally, these results show that seemingly minor fluctuations in Cu availability are sufficient to shift cells' transcriptional response to drug stress. Ultimately, the findings may inform the development of new strategies that capitalize on drug-induced vulnerabilities in metal homeostasis pathways.
Hunsaker, EW; Yu, C-HA; Franz, KJ
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