Thermal adaptation is essential in all organisms. In yeasts, the heat shock response is commanded by the heat shock transcription factor Hsf1. Here we have integrated unbiased genetic screens with directed molecular dissection to demonstrate that multiple signalling cascades contribute to thermal adaptation in the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. We show that the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) interacts with and down-regulates Hsf1 thereby modulating short term thermal adaptation. In the longer term, thermal adaptation depends on key MAP kinase signalling pathways that are associated with cell wall remodelling: the Hog1, Mkc1 and Cek1 pathways. We demonstrate that these pathways are differentially activated and display cross talk during heat shock. As a result ambient temperature significantly affects the resistance of C. albicans cells to cell wall stresses (Calcofluor White and Congo Red), but not osmotic stress (NaCl). We also show that the inactivation of MAP kinase signalling disrupts this cross talk between thermal and cell wall adaptation. Critically, Hsp90 coordinates this cross talk. Genetic and pharmacological inhibition of Hsp90 disrupts the Hsf1-Hsp90 regulatory circuit thereby disturbing HSP gene regulation and reducing the resistance of C. albicans to proteotoxic stresses. Hsp90 depletion also affects cell wall biogenesis by impairing the activation of its client proteins Mkc1 and Hog1, as well as Cek1, which we implicate as a new Hsp90 client in this study. Therefore Hsp90 modulates the short term Hsf1-mediated activation of the classic heat shock response, coordinating this response with long term thermal adaptation via Mkc1- Hog1- and Cek1-mediated cell wall remodelling.
We thank Rebecca Shapiro for creating CaLC1819, CaLC1855 and CaLC1875, Gillian Milne for help with EM, Aaron Mitchell for generously providing the transposon insertion mutant library, Jesus Pla for generously providing the hog1 hst7 mutant, and Cathy Collins for technical assistance.