Molecular cloning and characterization of a Candida albicans gene coding for cytochrome c haem lyase and a cell wall-related protein

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Immunoscreening of a Candida albicans cDNA library with a monoclonal antibody (mAb 4C12) recognizing an epitope present in high-molecular-weight mannoprotein (HMWM) components specific for the mycelial cell walls (a 180 kDa component and a polydispersed 260 kDa species) resulted in the isolation of the gene CaCYC3 encoding for cytochrome c haem lyase (CCHL). The CaCYC3 gene was transcribed preferentially in mycelial cells in which two mRNA transcripts of 0.8 and 1 kb were found. The nucleotide and the deduced amino acid sequences of this gene displayed 45% homology and 46% identity, respectively, to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae CYC3 gene and shared common features with other reported genes encoding for CCHL. The CaCYC3 gene restored the respiratory activity when transformed in a S. cerevisiae cyc3− mutant strain. A C. albicans CYC3 null mutant was constructed after sequential disruption using the hisG::URA3::hisG ('ura-blaster') cassette. Null mutant cells were unable to use lactate as a sole carbon source and had a reduced ability to form germ tubes. Western immunoblotting analysis of subcellular fractions from wild-type and null mutant strains demonstrated the presence of two gene products, a 33 kDa mitochondrial protein and a 40 kDa cell wall-associated moiety reacting with antibodies against CCHL, in both yeast cells and germ tubes. mAb 4C12 still reacted with the CaCYC3 null mutant (by immunofluorescence and immunoblotting) but showed an altered pattern of immunoreactivity against cell wall HMWM species, indicating a relationship between these moieties and the CaCYC3 gene products. The results suggest that the CaCYC3 gene encodes two proteins, one targeted to the mitochondria and the other to the cell wall.

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