Review

Growth of Candida albicans hyphae

  • Nature Reviews Microbiology volume 9, pages 737748 (2011)
  • doi:10.1038/nrmicro2636
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Abstract

The fungus Candida albicans is often a benign member of the mucosal flora; however, it commonly causes mucosal disease with substantial morbidity and in vulnerable patients it causes life-threatening bloodstream infections. A striking feature of its biology is its ability to grow in yeast, pseudohyphal and hyphal forms. The hyphal form has an important role in causing disease by invading epithelial cells and causing tissue damage. This Review describes our current understanding of the network of signal transduction pathways that monitors environmental cues to activate a programme of hypha-specific gene transcription, and the molecular processes that drive the highly polarized growth of hyphae.

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Acknowledgements

Work in the author's laboratory is supported by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council grant BB-F007892.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Sheffield University, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN UK.  P.Sudbery@shef.ac.uk

    • Peter E. Sudbery

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Competing interests

The author declares no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information S1 (table)

    List of hyphal induced genes.

Videos

  1. 1.

    Supplementary information S2 (movie)

    Continuous presence of the Spitzenkörper at the hyphal tip.

  2. 2.

    Supplementary information S3 (movie)

    Secretory vesicles stream towards the tip.

  3. 3.

    Supplementary information S4 (movie)

    Enlargement of the Spitzenkörper.

Glossary

Genetic toolbox

Describing methods that can be used to investigate Candida albicans. As C. albicans is an obligate diploid, to generate null strains it is necessary to delete both copies of a gene, designated −/− in this Review. Strains with multiple auxotrophic markers have facilitated the generation of null strains. Other advances include using gene fusion to generate fluorescent and epitope-tagged proteins, and regulatable promoters.

Germ tube

In this Review, a narrow, tube-like projection from a mother yeast cell that forms up to the end of the first cell cycle when an unbudded yeast cell is placed in hypha-inducing conditions.

Septins

A family of related proteins that form structures consisting of heteromeric filaments; first identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in which they form a ring at the bud neck. Just before cytokinesis, the ring splits in two and this organizes the formation of the septum. The septin ring also acts as a diffusion barrier to the movement of proteins along the inner side of the plasma membrane.

v-SNAREs

(Vesicle-membrane soluble N-ethyl-maleimide-sensitive attachment protein receptors). Highly α-helical proteins that mediate the specific fusion of vesicles with target membranes. SNAREs have been classified into two complementary classes that are referred to as vesicle-membrane SNAREs (v-SNAREs) and target-membrane SNAREs (t-SNAREs).

Thigomotropism

The ability of hyphae to sense and grow along topographical cues in the environment such as cracks and ridges. This ability may help growth towards entry points in epithelia and endothelia.

Galvanotropism

The ability to sense and orientate along an electric field; Candidia albicans hyphae grow towards the cathode.