Chromatin function depends on adequate histone stoichiometry. Alterations in histone dosage affect transcription and chromosome segregation, leading to growth defects and aneuploidies. In the fungal pathogen Candida albicans, aneuploidy formation is associated with antifungal resistance and pathogenesis. Histone modifying enzymes and chromatin remodeling proteins are also required for pathogenesis. However, little is known about the mechanisms that generate aneuploidies or about the epigenetic mechanisms that shape the response of C. albicans to the host environment. Here, we determined the impact of histone H4 deficit in the growth and colony morphology of C. albicans. We found that C. albicans requires at least two of the four alleles that code for histone H4 (HHF1 and HHF22) to grow normally. Strains with only one histone H4 allele show a severe growth defect and unstable colony morphology, and produce faster-growing, morphologically stable suppressors. Segmental or whole chromosomal trisomies that increased wild-type histone H4 copy number were the preferred mechanism of suppression. This is the first study of a core nucleosomal histone in C. albicans, and constitutes the prelude to future, more detailed research on the function of histone H4 in this important fungal pathogen.
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