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J Bacteriol. 1996 April; 178(8): 2320–2327.
PMCID: PMC177940

Isolation and characterization of the GFA1 gene encoding the glutamine:fructose-6-phosphate amidotransferase of Candida albicans.


Glutamine:fructose-6-phosphate amidotransferase (glucosamine-6-phosphate synthase) catalyzes the first step of the hexosamine pathway required for the biosynthesis of cell wall precursors. The Candida albicans GFA1 gene was cloned by complementing a gfa1 mutation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (previously known as gcn1-1; W. L. Whelan and C. E. Ballou, J. Bacteriol. 124:1545-1557, 1975). GFA1 encodes a predicted protein of 713 amino acids and is homologous to the corresponding gene from S. cerevisiae (72% identity at the nucleotide sequence level) as well as to the genes encoding glucosamine-6-phosphate synthases in bacteria and vertebrates. In cell extracts, the C. albicans enzyme was 4-fold more sensitive than the S. cerevisiae enzyme to UDP-N-acetylglucosamine (an inhibitor of the mammalian enzyme) and 2.5-fold more sensitive to N3-(4-methoxyfumaroyl)-L-2,3-diaminopropanoic acid (a glutamine analog and specific inhibitor of glucosamine-6-phosphate synthase). Cell extracts from the S. cerevisiae gfa1 strain transformed with the C. albicans GFA1 gene exhibited sensitivities to glucosamine-6-phosphate synthase inhibitors that were similar to those shown by the C. albicans enzyme. Southern hybridization indicated that a single GFA1 locus exists in the C. albicans genome. Quantitative Northern (RNA) analysis showed that the expression of GFA1 in C. albicans is regulated during growth: maximum mRNA levels were detected during early log phase. GFA1 mRNA levels increased following induction of the yeast-to-hyphal-form transition, but this was a response to fresh medium rather than to the morphological change.

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