Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) serve as key negative-feedback regulators of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascades. However, their roles and regulatory mechanisms in human fungal pathogens remain elusive. In this study, we characterized the functions of two PTPs, Ptp1 and Ptp2, in Cryptococcus neoformans, which causes fatal meningoencephalitis. PTP1 and PTP2 were found to be stress-inducible genes, which were controlled by the MAPK Hog1 and the transcription factor Atf1. Ptp2 suppressed the hyperphosphorylation of Hog1 and was involved in mediating vegetative growth, sexual differentiation, stress responses, antifungal drug resistance, and virulence factor regulation through the negative-feedback loop of the HOG pathway. In contrast, Ptp1 was not essential for Hog1 regulation, despite its Hog1-dependent induction. However, in the absence of Ptp2, Ptp1 served as a complementary PTP to control some stress responses. In differentiation, Ptp1 acted as a negative regulator, but in a Hog1- and Cpk1-independent manner. Additionally, Ptp1 and Ptp2 localized to the cytosol but were enriched in the nucleus during the stress response, affecting the transient nuclear localization of Hog1. Finally, Ptp1 and Ptp2 played minor and major roles, respectively, in the virulence of C. neoformans. Taken together, our data suggested that PTPs could be exploited as novel antifungal targets.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology