J Cell Sci 2007 Jun 15;120(Pt 11):1898-907. Epub 2007 May 15.
Candida albicans Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, 61 Biopolis Drive, 138673, Singapore.
The growing tips of Candida albicans hyphae are sites of polarized exocytosis. Mammalian septins have been implicated in regulating exocytosis and C. albicans septins are known to localize at hyphal tips, although their function here is unknown. Here, we report that C. albicans cells deleted of the exocyst subunit gene SEC3 can grow normal germ tubes, but are unable to maintain tip growth after assembly of the first septin ring, resulting in isotropic expansion of the tip. Deleting either of the septin genes CDC10 or CDC11 caused Sec3p mislocalization and surprisingly, also restored hyphal development in the sec3Delta mutant without rescuing the temperature sensitivity. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments detected association of the septin Cdc3p with the exocyst subunits Sec3p and Sec5p. Our results reveal that C. albicans hyphal development occurs through Sec3p-independent and dependent phases, and provide strong genetic and biochemical evidence for a role of septins in polarized exocytosis.