Eukaryotic cell

ERG2 and ERG24 Are Required for Normal Vacuolar Physiology as Well as Candida albicans Pathogenicity in a Murine Model of Disseminated but Not Vaginal Candidiasis.

PMID 26231054


Several important classes of antifungal agents, including the azoles, act by blocking ergosterol biosynthesis. It was recently reported that the azoles cause massive disruption of the fungal vacuole in the prevalent human pathogen Candida albicans. This is significant because normal vacuolar function is required to support C. albicans pathogenicity. This study examined the impact of the morpholine antifungals, which inhibit later steps of ergosterol biosynthesis, on C. albicans vacuolar integrity. It was found that overexpression of either the ERG2 or ERG24 gene, encoding C-8 sterol isomerase or C-14 sterol reductase, respectively, suppressed C. albicans sensitivity to the morpholines. In addition, both erg2Δ/Δ and erg24Δ/Δ mutants were hypersensitive to the morpholines. These data are consistent with the antifungal activity of the morpholines depending upon the simultaneous inhibition of both Erg2p and Erg24p. The vacuoles within both erg2Δ/Δ and erg24Δ/Δ C. albicans strains exhibited an aberrant morphology and accumulated large quantities of the weak base quinacrine, indicating enhanced vacuolar acidification compared with that of control strains. Both erg mutants exhibited significant defects in polarized hyphal growth and were avirulent in a mouse model of disseminated candidiasis. Surprisingly, in a mouse model of vaginal candidiasis, both mutants colonized mice at high levels and induced a pathogenic response similar to that with the controls. Thus, while targeting Erg2p or Erg24p alone could provide a potentially efficacious therapy for disseminated candidiasis, it may not be an effective strategy to treat vaginal infections. The potential value of drugs targeting these enzymes as adjunctive therapies is discussed.

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Ergosterol, 10 mg/mL in chloroform, analytical standard