Phosphorylation regulates polarisation of chitin synthesis in Candida albicans

Megan D Lenardon, Sarah Milne, Hector M Mora-Montes, Florian Kaffarnik, Scott Peck, Alistair J P Brown, Carol A Munro, Neil A R Gow

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32 Citations (Scopus)
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The ability to undergo polarised cell growth is fundamental to the development of almost all walled organisms. Fungi are characterised by yeasts and moulds and both cellular forms have been studied extensively as tractable models of cell polarity. Chitin is a hallmark component of fungal cell walls. Chitin synthesis is essential for growth, viability and rescue from many conditions that impair cell wall integrity. In the polymorphic human pathogen Candida albicans, Chs3 synthesises the majority of chitin in the cell wall and is localised at the tips of growing buds and hyphae, and at the septum. An analysis of the C. albicans phospho-proteome revealed that Chs3 can be phosphorylated at S139. Mutation of this site showed that both phosphorylation and de-phosphorylation were required for the correct localisation and function of Chs3. The kinase Pkc1 was not required to target Chs3 to sites of polarised growth. This is the first report demonstrating an essential role for Chs phosphorylation in the polarised biosynthesis of fungal cell walls and suggests a new mechanism for the regulation of this class of glycosyl transferase enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2199-2206
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number13
Early online date8 Jun 2010
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

We thank Serena Selvaggini, Aaron Mitchell, Laura Selway and
Claire Walker for strains and ancillary information, and the Wellcome
Trust, BBSRC, EC (FUNGWALL) and MRC for funding. Deposited
in PMC for immediate release. This article is freely accessible online
from the date of publication


  • chitin
  • cell wall
  • Candida Albicans
  • Chs3
  • Pkc1
  • phosphorylation
  • polarised growth


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