The capacity to coordinate environmental sensing with initiation of cellular responses underpins microbial survival and is crucial for virulence and stress responses in microbial pathogens. Here we define circuitry that enables the fungal pathogen Candida albicans to couple cell cycle dynamics with responses to cell wall stress induced by echinocandins, a front-line class of antifungal drugs. We discover that the C. albicans transcription factor Cas5 is crucial for proper cell cycle dynamics and responses to echinocandins, which inhibit β-1,3-glucan synthesis. Cas5 has distinct transcriptional targets under basal and stress conditions, is activated by the phosphatase Glc7, and can regulate the expression of target genes in concert with the transcriptional regulators Swi4 and Swi6. Thus, we illuminate a mechanism of transcriptional control that couples cell wall integrity with cell cycle regulation, and uncover circuitry governing antifungal drug resistance.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Cowen lab members for helpful discussions. We also thank David Rogers (University of Tennessee) for sharing microarray analysis of the CAS5 homozygous mutant, and Li Ang (University of Macau) for assistance in optimizing the ChIP-Seq experiments. J.L.X. is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral award and M.D.L. is supported by a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship (Wellcome Trust 096072). B.T.G. holds an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. C.B. and B.J.A. are supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundation Grants (FDN-143264 and -143265). D.J.K. is supported by a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grant (1R01AI098450) and J.D.L.C.D. is supported by the University of Rochester School of Dentistry and Medicine PREP program (R25 GM064133). A.S. is supported by the Creighton University and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (LB506-2017-55). K.H.W. is supported by the Science and Technology Development Fund of Macau S.A.R. (FDCT; 085/2014/A2). L.E.C. is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Operating Grants (MOP-86452 and MOP-119520), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council (NSERC) of Canada Discovery Grants (06261 and 462167), and an NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship (477598).
© 2017 The Author(s).