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There is increasing evidence that many amyloids in living cells have physiological functions. On the surfaces of fungal cells, amyloid core sequences in adhesins can aggregate into 100- to 1,000-nm-wide patches to form high-avidity adhesion nanodomains on the cell surface. The nanodomains form through interactions that have amyloid-like properties: binding of amyloid dyes, perturbation by antiamyloid agents, and interaction with homologous sequences. To test whether these functional interactions are mediated by typical amyloid interactions, we substituted an amyloid core sequence, LVFFA, from human A protein for the native sequence IVIVA in the 1,419-residue Candida albicans adhesin Als5p. The chimeric protein formed cell surface nanodomains and mediated cellular aggregation. The native sequence and chimeric adhesins responded similarly to the amyloid dye thioflavin T and to amyloid perturbants. However, unlike the native protein, the nanodomains formed by the chimeric protein were not force activated and formed less-robust aggregates under flow. These results showed the similarity of amyloid interactions in the amyloid core sequences of native Als5p and AB, but they also highlighted emergent properties of the native sequence. Also, a peptide composed of the AB amyloid sequence flanked by amino acids from the adhesin formed two dimensional sheets with sizes similar to the cell surface patches of the adhesins. These results inform an initial model for the structure of fungal cell surface amyloid nanodomains.


This article was originally published in mBio, available at doi:10.1128/mBio.01815-15.

This article was published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.



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