Alcohols inhibit translation to regulate morphogenesis in C. albicans

Nkechi Egbe, Caroline M Paget, Yan Wang, Mark Ashe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Many molecules are secreted into the growth media by microorganisms to modulate the metabolic and physiological processes of the organism. For instance, alcohols like butanol, ethanol and isoamyl alcohol are produced by the human pathogenic fungus, Candida albicans and induce morphological differentiation. Here we show that these same alcohols cause a rapid inhibition of protein synthesis. More specifically, the alcohols target translation initiation, a complex stage of the gene expression process. Using molecular techniques, we have identified the likely translational target of these alcohols in C. albicans as the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2B (eIF2B). eIF2B is the guanine nucleotide exchange factor for eIF2, which supports the exchange reaction where eIF2.GDP is converted to eIF2.GTP. Even minimal regulation at this step will lead to alterations in the levels of specific proteins that may allow the exigencies of the fungus to be realised. Indeed, similar to the effects of alcohols, a minimal inhibition of protein synthesis with cycloheximide also causes an induction of filamentous growth. These results suggest a molecular basis for the effect of various alcohols on morphological differentiation in C. albicans.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFungal genetics and biology : FG & B
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


    • Candida albicans
    • Eukaryotic initiation factor 2B (eIF2B)
    • Filamentous growth
    • Protein synthesis


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