Towards understanding the novel adhesin function of Candida albicans phosphoglycerate mutase at the pathogen cell surface: some structural analysis of the interactions with human host extracellular matrix proteins
Although many atypical proteinaceous cell wall components that belong to a group of multitasking, "moonlighting" proteins, have been repeatedly identified in numerous pathogenic microorganisms, their novel extracellular functions and secretion mechanisms remain largely unrecognized. In Candida albicans, one of the most common fungal pathogens in humans, phosphoglycerate mutase (Gpm1) - a cytoplasmic enzyme involved in the glycolysis pathway - has been shown to occur on the cell surface and has been identified as a potentially important virulence factor. In this study, we demonstrated tight binding of C. albicans Gpm1 to the candidal cell surface, thus suggesting that the readsorption of soluble Gpm1 from the external environment could be a likely mechanism leading to the presence of this moonlighting protein on the pathogen surface. Several putative Gpm1-binding receptors on the yeast surface were identified. The affinities of Gpm1 to human vitronectin (VTR) and fibronectin (FN) were characterized with surface plasmon resonance measurements, and the dissociation constants of the complexes formed were determined to be in the order of 10-8 M. The internal Gpm1 sequence motifs, directly interacting with VTR (aa 116-158) and FN (aa 138-175) were mapped using chemical crosslinking and mass spectrometry. Synthetic peptides with matching sequences significantly inhibited formation of the Gpm1-VTR and Gpm1-FN complexes. A molecular model of the Gpm1-VTR complex was developed. These results provide the first structural insights into the adhesin function of candidal surface-exposed Gpm1.
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