CDK-dependent phosphorylation of Mob2 is essential for hyphal development in Candida albicans.

Mol Biol Cell 2011 Jul 18;22(14):2458-69. Epub 2011 May 18.

Departamento Ciencias Biomédicas, Universidad de Extremadura, 06071 Badajoz, Spain.

Nuclear Dbf2-related (NDR) protein kinases are essential components of regulatory pathways involved in cell morphogenesis, cell cycle control, and viability in eukaryotic cells. For their activity and function, these kinases require interaction with Mob proteins. However, little is known about how the Mob proteins are regulated. In Candida albicans, the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) Cdc28 and the NDR kinase Cbk1 are required for hyphal growth. Here we demonstrate that Mob2, the Cbk1 activator, undergoes a Cdc28-dependent differential phosphorylation on hyphal induction. Mutations in the four CDK consensus sites in Mob2 to Ala significantly impaired hyphal development. The mutant cells produced short hyphae with enlarged tips that displayed an illicit activation of cell separation. We also show that Cdc28 phosphorylation of Mob2 is essential for the maintenance of polarisome components at hyphal tips but not at bud tips during yeast growth. Thus we have found a novel signaling pathway by which Cdc28 controls Cbk1 through the regulatory phosphorylation of Mob2, which is crucial for normal hyphal development.

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