• Comparative genomics of the fungal pathogens Candida dubliniensis and Candida albicans.

      Jackson, Andrew P; Gamble, John A; Yeomans, Tim; Moran, Gary P; Saunders, David; Harris, David; Aslett, Martin; Barrell, Jamie F; Butler, Geraldine; Citiulo, Francesco; et al. (2009-12)
      Candida dubliniensis is the closest known relative of Candida albicans, the most pathogenic yeast species in humans. However, despite both species sharing many phenotypic characteristics, including the ability to form true hyphae, C. dubliniensis is a significantly less virulent and less versatile pathogen. Therefore, to identify C. albicans-specific genes that may be responsible for an increased capacity to cause disease, we have sequenced the C. dubliniensis genome and compared it with the known C. albicans genome sequence. Although the two genome sequences are highly similar and synteny is conserved throughout, 168 species-specific genes are identified, including some encoding known hyphal-specific virulence factors, such as the aspartyl proteinases Sap4 and Sap5 and the proposed invasin Als3. Among the 115 pseudogenes confirmed in C. dubliniensis are orthologs of several filamentous growth regulator (FGR) genes that also have suspected roles in pathogenesis. However, the principal differences in genomic repertoire concern expansion of the TLO gene family of putative transcription factors and the IFA family of putative transmembrane proteins in C. albicans, which represent novel candidate virulence-associated factors. The results suggest that the recent evolutionary histories of C. albicans and C. dubliniensis are quite different. While gene families instrumental in pathogenesis have been elaborated in C. albicans, C. dubliniensis has lost genomic capacity and key pathogenic functions. This could explain why C. albicans is a more potent pathogen in humans than C. dubliniensis.
    • Comparative transcript profiling of Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis identifies SFL2, a C. albicans gene required for virulence in a reconstituted epithelial infection model.

      Spiering, Martin J; Moran, Gary P; Chauvel, Murielle; Maccallum, Donna M; Higgins, Judy; Hokamp, Karsten; Yeomans, Tim; d'Enfert, Christophe; Coleman, David C; Sullivan, Derek J; et al. (2010-02)
      Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis are closely related species displaying differences in virulence and genome content, therefore providing potential opportunities to identify novel C. albicans virulence genes. C. albicans gene arrays were used for comparative analysis of global gene expression in the two species in reconstituted human oral epithelium (RHE). C. albicans (SC5314) showed upregulation of hypha-specific and virulence genes within 30 min postinoculation, coinciding with rapid induction of filamentation and increased RHE damage. C. dubliniensis (CD36) showed no detectable upregulation of hypha-specific genes, grew as yeast, and caused limited RHE damage. Several genes absent or highly divergent in C. dubliniensis were upregulated in C. albicans. One such gene, SFL2 (orf19.3969), encoding a putative heat shock factor, was deleted in C. albicans. DeltaDeltasfl2 cells failed to filament under a range of hypha-inducing conditions and exhibited greatly reduced RHE damage, reversed by reintroduction of SFL2 into the DeltaDeltasfl2 strain. Moreover, SFL2 overexpression in C. albicans triggered hyphal morphogenesis. Although SFL2 deletion had no apparent effect on host survival in the murine model of systemic infection, DeltaDeltasfl2 strain-infected kidney tissues contained only yeast cells. These results suggest a role for SFL2 in morphogenesis and an indirect role in C. albicans pathogenesis in epithelial tissues.
    • Genome-wide gene expression profiling and a forward genetic screen show that differential expression of the sodium ion transporter Ena21 contributes to the differential tolerance of Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis to osmotic stress.

      Enjalbert, Brice; Moran, Gary P; Vaughan, Claire; Yeomans, Tim; Maccallum, Donna M; Quinn, Janet; Coleman, David C; Brown, Alistair J P; Sullivan, Derek J; Aberdeen Fungal Group, School of Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK. (2009-04)
      Candida albicans is more pathogenic than Candida dubliniensis. However, this disparity in virulence is surprising given the high level of sequence conservation and the wide range of phenotypic traits shared by these two species. Increased sensitivity to environmental stresses has been suggested to be a possible contributory factor to the lower virulence of C. dubliniensis. In this study, we investigated, in the first comparison of C. albicans and C. dubliniensis by transcriptional profiling, global gene expression in each species when grown under conditions in which the two species exhibit differential stress tolerance. The profiles revealed similar core responses to stresses in both species, but differences in the amplitude of the general transcriptional responses to thermal, salt and oxidative stress. Differences in the regulation of specific stress genes were observed between the two species. In particular, ENA21, encoding a sodium ion transporter, was strongly induced in C. albicans but not in C. dubliniensis. In addition, ENA21 was identified in a forward genetic screen for C. albicans genomic sequences that increase salt tolerance in C. dubliniensis. Introduction of a single copy of CaENA21 was subsequently shown to be sufficient to confer salt tolerance upon C. dubliniensis.