Analysing transcriptional circuits driving biofilm formation in Candida species to understand the evolution of pathogenic traits

Year of award: 2017


  • Dr Eugenio Mancera Ramos

    Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN

Project summary

Fungi from the genus Candida are important human pathogens. The ability of these species to form biofilms is essential for their colonisation of the human host. Recent characterisation of the transcriptional circuit that regulates biofilm formation in Candida albicans identified seven core transcription factors that regulate more than 1,000 genes.

We will characterise biofilm formation and the underlying transcriptional circuits in several related species of Candida to understand how such a complex transcriptional circuit developed. Our key goals are to understand how biofilm formation varies across different Candida species. Our preliminary experiments show that only species closely related to C.albicans are capable of forming structured biofilms. We will also assess the role of the seven core transcription factors in biofilm formation in related Candida species. We will reconstruct the biofilm transcriptional circuits in different Candida species by performing transcriptional profiling and by mapping genome-wide protein-DNA interactions. Comparison of these circuits will show how the biofilm circuit evolved. We will test the adaptive value of the observed changes by identifying their phenotypic implications.

This work will reveal how biofilm formation, an essential trait for colonising the human host, emerged in this group of human pathogens.