Cryptococcus neoformans Ca 2+ homeostasis requires a chloride channel/antiporter Clc1 in JEC21, but not in H99

Dong Li, Xiaojiao Zhang, Zhongming Li, Jiao Yang, Jiao Pan, Xudong Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


CLC-type chloride/proton antiporters are required for copper/iron homeostasis in fungi. A relationship between CLCs and Ca 2+ homeostasis has not been found before. Here we demonstrate the requirement of the antiporter CLC1 for Ca 2+ homeostasis/signaling in Cryptococcus neoformans. The deletion of CLC1 in JEC21 resulted in a mutant hypersensitive to cyclosporine A, an inhibitor of calcineurin. Intracellular Ca 2+ deficiency in the mutant Tx1 was confirmed with Fluo-3 staining epi-fluorescence microscopy. Tx1 failed to grow at elevated temperature and in SDS and displayed defects in cell wall integrity and cell separation. This defective phenotype is because of Ca 2+ deficiency that was restorable by exogenous Ca 2+. In contrast, H99 CLC1 was dispensable for Ca 2+ homeostasis and had no comparable defective consequences if deleted, suggesting divergent roles of CLCs in Ca 2+ homeostasis. Distinct Ca 2+ homeostasis mechanisms may contribute the virulence difference between the two strains. This work reveals a novel action of CLC antiporters in fungi and may provide information as to the evolution of pathogenicity among cryptococcal strains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-77
Number of pages9
JournalFEMS yeast research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Calcium homeostasis
  • Chloride/proton antiporter
  • Cryptococcus neoformans

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