Comparative transcriptome analysis reveals novel roles of the Ras and cyclic AMP signaling pathways in environmental stress response and antifungal drug sensitivity in Cryptococcus neoformans.
The cyclic AMP (cAMP) pathway plays a central role in the growth, differentiation, and virulence of pathogenic fungi, including Cryptococcus neoformans. Three upstream signaling regulators of adenylyl cyclase (Cac1), Ras, Aca1, and Gpa1, have been demonstrated to control the cAMP pathway in C. neoformans, but their functional relationship remains elusive. We performed a genome-wide transcriptome analysis with a DNA microarray using the ras1Delta, gpa1Delta, cac1Delta, aca1Delta, and pka1Delta pka2Delta mutants. The aca1Delta, gpa1Delta, cac1Delta, and pka1Delta pka2Delta mutants displayed similar transcriptome patterns, whereas the ras1Delta mutant exhibited transcriptome patterns distinct from those of the wild type and the cAMP mutants. Interestingly, a number of environmental stress response genes are modulated differentially in the ras1Delta and cAMP mutants. In fact, the Ras signaling pathway was found to be involved in osmotic and genotoxic stress responses and the maintenance of cell wall integrity via the Cdc24-dependent signaling pathway. Notably, the Ras and cAMP mutants exhibited hypersensitivity to a polyene drug, amphotericin B, without showing effects on ergosterol biosynthesis, which suggested a novel method of antifungal combination therapy. Among the cAMP-dependent gene products that we characterized, two small heat shock proteins, Hsp12 and Hsp122, were found to be involved in the polyene antifungal drug susceptibility of C. neoformans.
Maeng, S; Ko, Y-J; Kim, G-B; Jung, K-W; Floyd, A; Heitman, J; Bahn, Y-S
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