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Eukaryotic Cell


Geisel School of Medicine


Candida albicans, a fungal pathogen of humans, regulates its morphology in response to many environmental cues and this morphological plasticity contributes to virulence. Farnesol, an autoregulatory molecule produced by C. albicans, inhibits the induction of hyphal growth by inhibiting adenylate cyclase (Cyr1). The role of farnesol and Cyr1 in controlling the maintenance of hyphal growth has been less clear. Here, we demonstrate that preformed hyphae transition to growth as yeast in response to farnesol and that strains with increased cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling exhibit more resistance to farnesol. Exogenous farnesol did not induce the hypha-to-yeast transition in mutants lacking the Tup1 or Nrg1 transcriptional repressors in embedded conditions. Although body temperature is not required for embedded hyphal growth, we found that the effect of farnesol on the hypha-to-yeast transition varies inversely with temperature. Our model of Cyr1 activity being required for filamentation is also supported by our liquid assay data, which show increased yeast formation when preformed filaments are treated with farnesol. Together, these data suggest that farnesol can modulate morphology in preformed hyphal cells and that the repression of hyphal growth maintenance likely occurs through the inhibition of cAMP signaling.