Endoplasmic reticulum-derived reactive oxygen species (ROS) is involved in toxicity of cell wall stress toCandida albicans

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The cell wall is an important cell structure in both fungi and bacteria, and hence becomes a common antimicrobial target. The cell wall-perturbing agents disrupt synthesis and function of cell wall components, leading to cell wall stress and consequent cell death. However, little is known about the detailed mechanisms by which cell wall stress renders fungal cell death. In this study, we found that ROS scavengers drastically attenuated the antifungal effect of cell wall-perturbing agents to the model fungal pathogen Candida albicans, and these agents caused remarkable ROS accumulation and activation of oxidative stress response (OSR) in this fungus. Interestingly, cell wall stress did not cause mitochondrial dysfunction and elevation of mitochondrial superoxide levels. Furthermore, the iron chelator 2,2′-bipyridyl (BIP) and the hydroxyl radical scavengers could not attenuate cell wall stress-caused growth inhibition and ROS accumulation. However, cell wall stress up-regulated expression of unfold protein response (UPR) genes, enhanced protein secretion and promoted protein folding-related oxidation of Ero1, an important source of ROS production. These results indicated that oxidation of Ero1 in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), rather than mitochondrial electron transport and Fenton reaction, contributed to cell wall stress-related ROS accumulation and consequent growth inhibition. Our findings uncover a novel link between cell wall integrity (CWI), ER function and ROS production in fungal cells, and shed novel light on development of strategies promoting the antifungal efficacy of cell wall-perturbing agents against fungal infections.

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