Candida albicans produces large amounts of the acyclic pentitol D- arabitol in culture and in infected animals and humans, and most strains also grow on minimal D-arabitol medium. An earlier study showed that the major metabolic precursor of D-arabitol in C. albicans was D-ribulose-5-PO4 from the pentose pathway, that C. albicans contained an NAD-dependent D-arabitol dehydrogenase (ArDH), and that the ArDH structural gene (ARD) encoded a 31- kDa short-chain dehydrogenase that catalyzed the reaction D-arabitol + NAD <=> D-ribulose + NADH. In the present study, we disrupted both ARD chromosomal alleles in C. albicans and analyzed the resulting mutants. The ard null mutation was verified by Southern hybridization, and the null mutant's inability to produce ArDH was verified by Western immunoblotting. The ard null mutant grew well on minimal glucose medium, but it was unable to grow on minimal D-arabitol or D-arabinose medium. Thus, ArDH catalyzes the first step in D-arabitol utilization and a necessary intermediate step in D- arabinose utilization. Unexpectedly, the ard null mutant synthesized D- arabitol from glucose. Moreover, 13C nuclear magnetic resonance studies showed that the ard null mutant and its wild-type parent synthesized D- arabitol via the same pathway. These results imply that C. albicans synthesizes and utilizes D-arabitol via separate metabolic pathways, which was not previously suspected for fungi.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology