mSystems. 2021 Oct 5:e0094621. doi: 10.1128/mSystems.00946-21. Online ahead of print.
Candida albicans is a commensal fungus that causes systemic infections in immunosuppressed patients. In order to deal with the changing environment during commensalism or infection, C. albicans must reprogram its proteome. Characterizing the stress-induced changes in the proteome that C. albicans uses to survive should be very useful in the development of new antifungal drugs. We studied the C. albicans global proteome after exposure to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and acetic acid (AA), using a data-independent acquisition mass spectrometry (DIA-MS) strategy. More than 2,000 C. albicans proteins were quantified using an ion library previously constructed using data-dependent acquisition mass spectrometry (DDA-MS). C. albicans responded to treatment with H2O2 with an increase in the abundance of many proteins involved in the oxidative stress response, protein folding, and proteasome-dependent catabolism, which led to increased proteasome activity. The data revealed a previously unknown key role for Prn1, a protein similar to pirins, in the oxidative stress response. Treatment with AA resulted in a general decrease in the abundance of proteins involved in amino acid biosynthesis, protein folding, and rRNA processing. Almost all proteasome proteins declined, as did proteasome activity. Apoptosis was observed after treatment with H2O2 but not AA. A targeted proteomic study of 32 proteins related to apoptosis in yeast supported the results obtained by DIA-MS and allowed the creation of an efficient method to quantify relevant proteins after treatment with stressors (H2O2, AA, and amphotericin B). This approach also uncovered a main role for Oye32, an oxidoreductase, suggesting this protein as a possible apoptotic marker common to many stressors. IMPORTANCE Fungal infections are a worldwide health problem, especially in immunocompromised patients and patients with chronic disorders. Invasive candidiasis, caused mainly by C. albicans, is among the most common fungal diseases. Despite the existence of treatments to combat candidiasis, the spectrum of drugs available is limited. For the discovery of new drug targets, it is essential to know the pathogen response to different stress conditions. Our study provides a global vision of proteomic remodeling in C. albicans after exposure to different agents, such as hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid, and amphotericin B, that can cause apoptotic cell death. These results revealed the significance of many proteins related to oxidative stress response and proteasome activity, among others. Of note, the discovery of Prn1 as a key protein in the defense against oxidative stress as well the increase in the abundance of Oye32 protein when apoptotic process occurred point them out as possible drug targets.