Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that has several well described virulence determinants. A polysaccharide capsule and the ability to produce melanin are among the most important. Melanization occurs both in vitro, in the presence of catecholamine and indole compounds, and in vivo during the infection. Despite the importance of melanin production for cryptococcal virulence, the components and mechanisms involved its synthesis have not been fully elucidated. In this work, we describe the role of a G1/S cyclin (Cln1) in the melanization process. Cln1 has evolved specifically with proteins present only in other basidiomycetes. We found that Cln1 is required for the cell wall stability and production of melanin in C. neoformans. Absence of melanization correlated with a defect in the expression of the LAC1 gene. The relation between cell cycle elements and melanization was confirmed by the effect of drugs that cause cell cycle arrest at different phases, such as rapamycin and benomyl. The cln1 mutant was consistently more susceptible to oxidative damage in a medium that induces melanization. Our results strongly suggest that a novel and hitherto unrecognized role for C. neoformans Cln1 in the expression of virulence traits.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Frontiers in Microbiology|
|State||Published - 2015|
- Cell wall
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)