Overexpression of the CORVET complex alleviates the fungicidal effects of fludioxonil on the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae expressing hybrid histidine kinase 3 [Signal Transduction] (Journal of Biological Chemistry)
The hybrid histidine kinase 3 (HHK3) is a highly conserved sensor kinase in fungi that regulates the downstream HOG/p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). In addition to its role in osmoadaptation, HHK3 is involved in hyphal morphogenesis, conidiation, virulence, and cellular adaptation to oxidative stress. However, the molecular mechanisms by which it controls these processes remain obscure. Moreover, HHK3 is a molecular target for antifungal agents such as fludioxonil, which thereby interferes with the HOG/p38 pathway, leading to the abnormal accumulation of glycerol and subsequent cell lysis. Here, we used a chemical genomics approach with the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to better understand the fungicidal action of fludioxonil and the role of HHK3 in fungal growth and physiology. Our results indicated that the abnormal accumulation of glycerol is not the primary cause of fludioxonil toxicity. Fludioxonil appears to impair endosomal trafficking in the fungal cells. We found that the components of class C core vacuole/endosome tethering (CORVET) complex are essential for yeast viability in the presence of a subthreshold dose of fludioxonil and that their overexpression alleviates fludioxonil toxicity. We also noted that by impeding secretory vesicle trafficking, fludioxonil inhibits hyphal growth in the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans. Our results suggest that HHK3 regulates fungal hyphal growth by affecting vesicle trafficking. Together, our results reveal an important role of CORVET complex in the fungicidal action of fludioxonil downstream of HHK3.