Candida albicans cell wall constitutes a sensitive boundary that undergoes molecular changes upon environmental injuries. Antimycotics exert an intense action on cell wall eliciting both qualitative and quantitative changes of resident proteins. The emergence of drug resistance is marked by a modulation of cell wall proteomic profile. In this study, we monitored, at the proteome level through a two-dimensional gel electrophoresis-based approach, differences of cell wall proteins in sensitive and resistant strains of C. albicans, and variations occurring upon treatment of these strains with antifungal drugs. We identified Rhd3/Pga29, a glycophosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored protein, as the main over-expressed protein in micafungin resistant strain with respect to the sensitive control cells. A further increase of Rhd3/Pga29 took place when these resistant strains were treated with sub-lethal dose of micafungin. These results were also confirmed in other two clinical isolates resistant to caspofungin. Results were validated by Western blot analyses and RT-PCR and immunoelectron microscopy images confirmed the increase of the Rhd3/Pga29 on the cell wall as well as in the cytosolic compartment of the micafungin-treated resistant cells. Rhd3/Pga29 over-expression upon echinocandin treatment could represent a strategy of C. albicans to counteract the toxic action of this drug. A role of this protein has also been claimed in the virulence of the fungus, suggesting an involvement of Rhd3/Pga29 in the relationship between C. albicans and the host.
- Candida albicans,
- Cell wall proteins,