Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2021 Jan 20;65(2):e01584-20. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01584-20. Print 2021 Jan 20.
Echinocandins are recommended as the first-line drugs for the treatment of systemic candidiasis. Cas5 is a key transcription factor involved in the response to cell wall damage induced by echinocandins. In this study, through a genetic screen, we identified a second transcription factor, Efg1, that is also crucial for proper transcriptional responses to echinocandins. Like CAS5, deletion of EFG1 confers hypersensitivity to caspofungin. Efg1 is required for the induction of CAS5 in response to caspofungin. However, ectopically expressed CAS5 cannot rescue the growth defect of efg1 mutant in caspofungin-containing medium. Deleting EFG1 in the cas5 mutant exacerbates the cell wall stress upon caspofungin addition and renders caspofungin-resistant Candida albicans responsive to treatment. Genome-wide transcription profiling of efg1/efg1 and cas5/cas5 using transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) indicates that Efg1 and Cas5 coregulate caspofungin-responsive gene expression, but they also independently control induction of some genes. We further show that Efg1 interacts with Cas5 by yeast two-hybrid and in vivo immunoprecipitation in the presence or absence of caspofungin. Importantly, Efg1 and Cas5 bind to some caspofungin-responsive gene promoters to coordinately activate their expression. Thus, we demonstrate that Efg1, together with Cas5, controls the transcriptional response to cell wall stress induced by caspofungin.