Temperature-induced switch to the pathogenic yeast form of Histoplasma capsulatum requires Ryp1, a conserved transcriptional regulator

Nguyen VQ, Sil A

Histoplasma capsulatum, a fungal pathogen of humans, switches from a filamentous spore-forming mold in the soil to a pathogenic budding-yeast form in the human host. This morphologic switch, which is exhibited by H. capsulatum and a group of evolutionarily related fungal pathogens, is regulated by temperature. Using insertional mutagenesis, we identified a gene, RYP1 (required for yeast phase growth), which is required for yeast-form growth at 37°C. ryp1 mutants are constitutively filamentous irrespective of temperature. Ryp1 is a member of a family of fungal proteins that includes Wor1, a master transcriptional regulator of the whiteopaque transition required for mating in Candida albicans. Ryp1 associates with its own upstream regulatory region, consistent with a direct role in transcriptional control, and both the protein and its transcript accumulate to high levels in wild-type yeastphase cells. Microarray analysis demonstrated that Ryp1 is required for the expression of the vast majority of yeast-specific genes, including two genes linked to virulence. Thus, Ryp1 appears to be a critical transcriptional regulator of a temperature-regulated morphologic switch in H. capsulatum.

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