Protein kinase A encoded by TPK2 regulates dimorphism of Candida albicans


Joachim F. Ernst. E-mail; Tel. (+49) 211 811 5176; Fax (+49) 211 811 5176.


External signals induce the switch from a yeast to a hyphal growth form in the fungal pathogen Candida albicans. We demonstrate here that the catalytic subunit of a protein kinase A (PKA) isoform encoded by TPK2 is required for internal signalling leading to hyphal differentiation. TPK2 complements the growth defect of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae tpk1-3 mutant and Tpk2p is able to phosphorylate an established PKA-acceptor peptide (kemptide). Deletion of TPK2 blocks morphogenesis and partially reduces virulence, whereas TPK2 overexpression induces hyphal formation and stimulates agar invasion. The defective tpk2 phenotype is suppressed by overproduction of known signalling components, including Efg1p and Cek1p, whereas TPK2 overexpression reconstitutes the cek1 but not the efg1 phenotype. The results indicate that PKA activity of Tpk2p is an important contributing factor in regulating dimorphism of C. albicans.