The glycerophosphocholine acyltransferase Gpc1 contributes to phosphatidylcholine biosynthesis, long-term viability, and embedded hyphal growth in Candida albicans



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Biological Chemistry








acyltransferase, Candida albicans, glycerophosphocholine, Gpc1, lysophosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylcholine, phospholipid metabolism, yeast


Candida albicans is a commensal fungus, opportunistic pathogen, and the most common cause of fungal infection in humans. The biosynthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC), a major eukaryotic glycerophospholipid, occurs through two primary pathways. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae and some plants, a third PC synthesis pathway, the PC deacylation/reacylation pathway (PC-DRP), has been characterized. PC-DRP begins with the acylation of the lipid turnover product, glycerophosphocholine (GPC), by the GPC acyltransferase, Gpc1, to form Lyso-PC. Lyso-PC is then acylated by lysolipid acyltransferase, Lpt1, to produce PC. Importantly, GPC, the substrate for Gpc1, is a ubiquitous metabolite available within the host. GPC is imported by C. albicans, and deletion of the major GPC transporter, Git3, leads to decreased virulence in a murine model. Here we report that GPC can be directly acylated in C. albicans by the protein product of orf19.988, a homolog of ScGpc1. Through lipidomic studies, we show loss of Gpc1 leads to a decrease in PC levels. This decrease occurs in the absence of exogenous GPC, indicating that the impact on PC levels may be greater in the human host where GPC is available. A gpc1?/? strain exhibits several sensitivities to antifungals that target lipid metabolism. Furthermore, loss of Gpc1 results in both a hyphal growth defect in embedded conditions and a decrease in long-term cell viability. These results demonstrate for the first time the importance of Gpc1 and this alternative PC biosynthesis route (PC-DRP) to the physiology of a pathogenic fungus.

Open Access