Deletion of the high-affinity cAMP phosphodiesterase encoded by PDE2 affects stress responses and virulence in Candida albicans
Previously, we have shown that PDE2 is required for hyphal development and cell wall integrity in Candida albicans. In the present study, we have investigated the effects of its deletion by genome-wide transcriptome profiling. Changes in expression levels of genes involved in metabolism, transcription, protein and nucleic acids synthesis, as well as stress responses, cell wall and membrane biogenesis, adherence and virulence have been observed. By comparing these changes with previously reported transcriptome profiles of pde2 Delta mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as well as cdc35 Delta, ras1 Delta and efg1 Delta mutants of C. albicans, conserved and species-specific cAMP-regulated genes have been identified. The genes whose transcription is altered upon deletion of PDE2 in C. albicans has also allowed us to predict that the pde2 Delta mutant would have a defective ability to adhere to, and invade host cells, and an impaired virulence as well as response to different stresses. Using appropriate assays, we have tested these predictions and compared the roles of the high- and low-affinity cAMP phosphodiesterases, Pde2p and Pde1p in stress, adhesion and virulence. We suggest that phosphodiesterases, and in particular the high-affinity cAMP phosphodiesterase encoded by PDE2, have real potential as targets for antifungal chemotherapy.