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Candida albicans puts one set of proteins to work in two different jobs

Reduce, reuse, recycle? Candida albicans is a reuser. No, it doesn’t use its old grocery bags over and over – it puts one set of proteins to work in two different jobs.

To mate, C. albicans must switch its cells from white to opaque (see inset). These opaque cells then release a pheromone that induces them to mate and induces white cells, which can’t mate, to form a biofilm. To C. albicans, this white cell biofilm is like a fancy hotel room: it facilitates mating among the opaque cells. But the response of white cells to the pheromone and the development of this gooey gathering place evolved only recently, and scientists wondered how the white cells acquired their new found ability. Looking at the white cell response pathway, scientists discerned that all of the upstream components are derived from the ancestral pathway that the opaque cells use in mating, but one protein in the pathway, MAP kinase scaffold protein, remained a mystery until now.
Read more on mBio's blog, "mBiosphere"...

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