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Candida albicans is among the most prevalent opportunistic fungal pathogens. Its capacity to cause life-threatening bloodstream infections is associated with the ability to form biofilms, which are intrinsically drug resistant reservoirs for dispersal. A key regulator of biofilm drug resistance and dispersal is the molecular chaperone Hsp90, which stabilizes many signal transducers. We previously identified 226 C. albicans Hsp90 genetic interactors under planktonic conditions, of which 56 are involved in transcriptional regulation. Six of these transcriptional regulators have previously been implicated in biofilm formation, suggesting that Hsp90 genetic interactions identified in planktonic conditions may have functional significance in biofilms. Here, we explored the relationship between Hsp90 and five of these transcription factor genetic interactors: BCR1, MIG1, TEC1, TUP1, and UPC2.We deleted each transcription factor gene in an Hsp90 conditional expression strain, and assessed biofilm formation and morphogenesis. Strikingly, depletion of Hsp90 conferred no additional biofilm defect in the mutants. An interaction was observed in which deletion of BCR1 enhanced filamentation upon reduction of Hsp90 levels. Further, although Hsp90 modulates expression of TEC1, TUP1, and UPC2 in planktonic conditions, it has no impact in biofilms. Lastly, we probed for physical interactions between Hsp90 and Tup1, whose WD40 domain suggests that it might interact with Hsp90 directly. Hsp90 and Tup1 formed a stable complex, independent of temperature or developmental state. Our results illuminate a physical interaction between Hsp90 and a key transcriptional regulator of filamentation and biofilm formation, and suggest that Hsp90 has distinct genetic interactions in planktonic and biofilm cellular states.
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