A glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor is required for membrane localization but dispensable for cell wall association of chitin deacetylase 2 in Cryptococcus neoformans

Nicole M. Gilbert, Lorina G. Baker, Charles A. Specht, Jennifer K. Lodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cell wall proteins (CWPs) mediate important cellular processes in fungi, including adhesion, invasion, biofilm formation, and flocculation. The current model of fungal cell wall organization includes a major class of CWPs covalently bound to /3-1,6-glucan via a remnant of a glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor. This model was established by studies of ascomyce-tes more than a decade ago, and relatively little work has been done with other fungi, although the presumption has been that proteins identified in the cell wall which contain a predicted GPI anchor are covalently linked to cell wall glucans. The pathogenic basidiomycete Cryptococcus neoformans encodes >50 putatively GPI-anchored proteins, some of which have been identified in the cell wall. One of these proteins is chitin deacetylase 2 (Cda2), an enzyme responsible for converting chitin to chitosan, a cell wall polymer recently established as a virulence factor for C. neoformans infection of mammalian hosts. Using a combination of biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics, we show that Cda2 is GPI anchored to membranes but noncovalently associated with the cell wall by means independent of both its GPI anchor and /β-1,6-glucan. We also show that Cda2 produces chitosan when localized to the plasma membrane, but association with the cell wall is not essential for this process, thereby providing insight into the mechanism of chitosan biosynthesis. These results increase our understanding of the surface of C. neoformans and provide models of cell walls likely applicable to other undercharacterized basidiomycete pathogenic fungi.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00007-12
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalmBio
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

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