The Evolutionary Rewiring of Ubiquitination Targets Has Reprogrammed the Regulation of Carbon Assimilation in the Pathogenic Yeast Candida albicans

Abstract

Microbes must assimilate carbon to grow and colonize their niches. Transcript profiling has suggested that Candida albicans, a major pathogen of humans, regulates its carbon assimilation in an analogous fashion to the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, repressing metabolic pathways required for the use of alterative nonpreferred carbon sources when sugars are available. However, we show that there is significant dislocation between the proteome and transcriptome in C. albicans. Glucose triggers the degradation of the ICL1 and PCK1 transcripts in C. albicans, yet isocitrate lyase (Icl1) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (Pck1) are stable and are retained. Indeed, numerous enzymes required for the assimilation of carboxylic and fatty acids are not degraded in response to glucose. However, when expressed in C. albicans, S. cerevisiae Icl1 (ScIcl1) is subjected to glucose-accelerated degradation, indicating that like S. cerevisiae, this pathogen has the molecular apparatus required to execute ubiquitin-dependent catabolite inactivation. C. albicans Icl1 (CaIcl1) lacks analogous ubiquitination sites and is stable under these conditions, but the addition of a ubiquitination site programs glucose-accelerated degradation of CaIcl1. Also, catabolite inactivation is slowed in C. albicans ubi4 cells. Ubiquitination sites are present in gluconeogenic and glyoxylate cycle enzymes from S. cerevisiae but absent from their C. albicans homologues. We conclude that evolutionary rewiring of ubiquitination targets has meant that following glucose exposure, C. albicans retains key metabolic functions, allowing it to continue to assimilate alternative carbon sources. This metabolic flexibility may be critical during infection, facilitating the rapid colonization of dynamic host niches containing complex arrays of nutrients. IMPORTANCE Pathogenic microbes must assimilate a range of carbon sources to grow and colonize their hosts. Current views about carbon assimilation in the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans are strongly influenced by the Saccharomyces cerevisiae paradigm in which cells faced with choices of nutrients first use energetically favorable sugars, degrading enzymes required for the assimilation of less favorable alternative carbon sources. We show that this is not the case in C. albicans because there has been significant evolutionary rewiring of the molecular signals that promote enzyme degradation in response to glucose. As a result, this major pathogen of humans retains enzymes required for the utilization of physiologically relevant carbon sources such as lactic acid and fatty acids, allowing it to continue to use these host nutrients even when glucose is available. This phenomenon probably enhances efficient colonization of host niches where sugars are only transiently available.

DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00495-12

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@inproceedings{Sandai2012TheER, title={The Evolutionary Rewiring of Ubiquitination Targets Has Reprogrammed the Regulation of Carbon Assimilation in the Pathogenic Yeast Candida albicans}, author={Doblin Sandai and Zhikang Yin and Laura Selway and David Stead and Janet Walker and Michelle D. Leach and Iryna M. Bohovych and Iuliana V . Ene and Stavroula L. Kastora and Susan Budge and Carol A Munro and Frank C. Odds and Neil A R Gow and Alistair J. P. Brown}, booktitle={mBio}, year={2012} }