Casein kinases regulate a wide range of cellular functions in eukaryotes, including phosphorylation of proteins that are substrates for degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). Our previous studydemonstrated that Fbp1, a component of the SCF FBP1 E3 ligase complex, was essential for Cryptococcus virulence. Because the Saccharomyces cerevisiae homolog of Fbp1, Grr1, requires casein kinase I (Yck1 and Yck2) to phosphorylate its substrates, we investigated the function of casein kinase I in Cryptococcus neoformans. In this report, we identified a C. neoformans casein kinase I protein homolog, Cck1. Similar to Fbp1, the expression of Cck1 is negatively regulated by glucose and during mating. cck1 null mutants showed significant virulence attenuation in a murine systemic infection model, but Cck1 was dispensable for the development of classical virulence factors (capsule, melanin, and growth at 37°C). cck1 mutants were hypersensitive to SDS treatment, indicating that Cck1 is required for cell integrity. The functional overlap between Cck1 and Fbp1 suggests that Cck1 may be required for the phosphorylation of Fbp1 substrates. Interestingly, the cck1 mutant also showed increased sensitivity to osmotic stress and oxidative stress, suggesting that Cck1 regulates both cell integrity and the cellular stress response. Our results show that Cck1 regulates the phosphorylation of both Mpk1 and Hog1 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), demonstrating that Cck1 regulates cell integrity via the Mpk1 pathway and regulates cell adaptation to stresses via the Hog1 pathway. Overall, our study revealed that Cck1 plays important roles in regulating multiple signaling pathways and is required for fungal pathogenicity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology