Candida albicans forms a specialized "sexual" as well as "pathogenic" biofilm

Yang Nim Park, Karla J. Daniels, Claude Pujol, Thyagarajan Srikantha, David R. Soll

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36 Scopus citations


Candida albicans forms two types of biofilm in RPMI 1640 medium, depending upon the configuration of the mating type locus. In the prevalent a/α configuration, cells form a biofilm that is impermeable, impenetrable by leukocytes, and fluconazole resistant. It is regulated by the Ras1/cyclic AMP (cAMP) pathway. In the a/a or α/α configuration, white cells form a biofilm that is architecturally similar to an a/α biofilm but, in contrast, is permeable, penetrable, and fluconazole susceptible. It is regulated by the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway. The MTL-homozygous biofilm has been shown to facilitate chemotropism, a step in the mating process. This has led to the hypothesis that specialized MTL-homozygous biofilms facilitate mating. If true, then MTL-homozygous biofilms should have an advantage over MTL-heterozygous biofilms in supporting mating. We have tested this prediction using a complementation strategy and show that minority opaque a/a and α/α cells seeded in MTLhomozygous biofilms mate at frequencies 1 to 2 orders of magnitude higher than in MTL-heterozygous biofilms. No difference in mating frequencies was observed between seeded patches of MTL-heterozygous and MTL-homozygous cells grown on agar at 28°C in air or 20% CO2 and at 37°C. Mating frequencies are negligible in seeded patches of both a/α and a/a cells, in contrast to seeded biofilms. Together, these results support the hypothesis that MTL-homozygous (a/a or α/α) white cells form a specialized "sexual biofilm."

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1120-1131
Number of pages12
JournalEukaryotic Cell
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013


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