Transcription factor Efg1 shows a haploinsufficiency phenotype in modulating the cell wall architecture and immunogenicity of Candida albicans
The Candida albicans transcription factor Efg1 is known to be involved in many different cellular processes, including morphogenesis, general metabolism, and virulence. Here we show that besides its manifold roles, Efg1 also has a prominent effect on cell wall structure and composition, strongly affecting the structural glucan part. Deletion of only one allele of EFG1 already results in severe phenotypes for cell wall biogenesis, comparable to those with deletion of both alleles, indicative of a severe haploinsufficiency for EFG1. The observed defects in structural setup of the cell wall, together with previously reported alterations in expression of cell surface proteins, result in altered immunogenic properties of strains with compromised Efg1 function. This is shown by interaction studies with macrophages and primary dendritic cells. The structural changes in the cell wall carbohydrate meshwork presented here, together with the manifold changes in cell wall protein composition and metabolism reported in other studies, contribute to the altered immune response mounted by innate immune cells and to the altered virulence phenotypes observed for strains lacking EFG1.