In Vivo Yeast Cell Morphogenesis Is Regulated by a p21-Activated Kinase in the Human Pathogen Penicillium marneffei
AuthorBoyce, KJ; Schreider, L; Andrianopoulos, A
Source TitlePLoS Pathogens
PublisherPUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
AffiliationSchool of BioSciences
Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBoyce, K. J., Schreider, L. & Andrianopoulos, A. (2009). In Vivo Yeast Cell Morphogenesis Is Regulated by a p21-Activated Kinase in the Human Pathogen Penicillium marneffei. PLOS PATHOGENS, 5 (11), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000678.
Access StatusOpen Access
Pathogens have developed diverse strategies to infect their hosts and evade the host defense systems. Many pathogens reside within host phagocytic cells, thus evading much of the host immune system. For dimorphic fungal pathogens which grow in a multicellular hyphal form, a central attribute which facilitates growth inside host cells without rapid killing is the capacity to switch from the hyphal growth form to a unicellular yeast form. Blocking this transition abolishes or severely reduces pathogenicity. Host body temperature (37 degrees C) is the most common inducer of the hyphal to yeast transition in vitro for many dimorphic fungi, and it is often assumed that this is the inducer in vivo. This work describes the identification and analysis of a new pathway involved in sensing the environment inside a host cell by a dimorphic fungal pathogen, Penicillium marneffei. The pakB gene, encoding a p21-activated kinase, defines this pathway and operates independently of known effectors in P. marneffei. Expression of pakB is upregulated in P. marneffei yeast cells isolated from macrophages but absent from in vitro cultured yeast cells produced at 37 degrees C. Deletion of pakB leads to a failure to produce yeast cells inside macrophages but no effect in vitro at 37 degrees C. Loss of pakB also leads to the inappropriate production of yeast cells at 25 degrees C in vitro, and the mechanism underlying this requires the activity of the central regulator of asexual development. The data shows that this new pathway is central to eliciting the appropriate morphogenetic response by the pathogen to the host environment independently of the common temperature signal, thus clearly separating the temperature- and intracellular-dependent signaling systems.
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