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Mutational analysis of essential septins reveals a role for septin-mediated signaling in filamentation.
Septin proteins are conserved structural proteins that often demarcate regions of cell division. The essential nature of the septin ring, composed of several septin proteins, complicates investigation of the functions of the ring, although careful analysis in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has elucidated the role that septins play in the cell cycle. Mutation analysis of non-essential septins in the pathogenic fungus Candida albicans has shown that septins also have vital roles in CWR, hyphal formation, and pathogenesis. While mutations in non-essential septins have been useful in establishing phenotypes, the septin defect is so slight that identifying causative associations between septins and downstream effectors has been difficult. In this work, we describe Decreased Abundance by mRNA Perturbation (DAmP) alleles of essential septins, which display a more severe septin defect than the defect observed in deletions of non-essential septins. The septin-DAmP alleles have allowed us to genetically separate the role of septins in hyphal growth and CWR and to identify the cyclic AMP pathway as a pathway that likely acts in a parallel manner with septins in hyphal morphogenesis.