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Regulatory mechanisms controlling morphology and pathogenesis in Candida albicans

Kadosh, David
Current opinion in microbiology 2019 v.52 pp. 27-34
Candida albicans, animal pathogenic fungi, biosynthesis, genomics, immunocompromised population, morphogenesis, pathogenesis, signal transduction, transcription (genetics), transcription factors, virulence, yeasts
Candida albicans, a major human fungal pathogen, can cause a wide variety of both mucosal and systemic infections, particularly in immunocompromised individuals. Multiple lines of evidence suggest a strong association between virulence and the ability of C. albicans to undergo a reversible morphological transition from yeast to filamentous cells in response to host environmental cues. Most previous studies on mechanisms important for controlling the C. albicans morphological transition have focused on signaling pathways and sequence-specific transcription factors. However, in recent years a variety of novel mechanisms have been reported, including those involving global transcriptional regulation and translational control. A large-scale functional genomics screen has also revealed new roles in filamentation for certain key biosynthesis pathways. This review article will highlight several of these exciting recent discoveries and discuss how they are relevant to the development of novel antifungal strategies. Ultimately, components of mechanisms that control C. albicans morphogenesis and pathogenicity could potentially serve as viable antifungal targets.