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Restricted Access Thesis

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Anne McBride


Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen responsible for infections with a wide range of severity. Its ability to switch from a round, yeast shape to an elongated hyphal form has been linked to its virulence. Asymmetric messenger RNA (mRNA) transport is one of the ways in which C. albicans undergoes this morphological change, where mRNA transcripts for key proteins for hyphal formation and function arrive at the hyphal tip for local translation. The exact mechanism behind the asymmetric mRNA transport in C. albicans remains poorly understood. In assessing how the mRNA transport works in C. albicans, a well-characterized budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae serves as a useful model organism. S. cerevisiae also employs a similar, conserved asymmetric mRNA localization pathway to transport transcripts of certain proteins to the tip of the budding cell. In the current study, the functionality of one of the key proteins for C. albicans hyphal formation, CaShe3, is examined in S. cerevisiae. CaSHE3 is expressed in an S. cerevisiae deletion mutant strain lacking its counterpart, ScSHE3. The pseudohyphal growth assay suggests that expression of CaSHE3 can complement the ScSHE3 deletion mutant phenotype to induce filamentation in S. cerevisiae in a nitrogen-deficient environment. The finding indicates potential conservation in the mechanism of She3 across the two yeast species and opens possibilities for generating hypotheses about the C. albicans asymmetric mRNA transport system.


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