Journal of Microbiology

, Volume 53, Issue 9, pp 579–587 | Cite as

The cAMP/protein kinase A signaling pathway in pathogenic basidiomycete fungi: Connections with iron homeostasis

  • Jaehyuk Choi
  • Won Hee Jung
  • James W. KronstadEmail author


A number of pathogenic species of basidiomycete fungi are either life-threatening pathogens of humans or major economic pests for crop production. Sensing the host is a key aspect of pathogen proliferation during disease, and signal transduction pathways are critically important for detecting environmental conditions and facilitating adaptation. This review focuses on the contributions of the cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) signaling pathway in Cryptococcus neoformans, a species that causes meningitis in humans, and Ustilago maydis, a model phytopathogen that causes a smut disease on maize. Environmental sensing by the cAMP/PKA pathway regulates the production of key virulence traits in C. neoformans including the polysaccharide capsule and melanin. For U. maydis, the pathway controls the dimorphic transition from budding growth to the filamentous cell type required for proliferation in plant tissue. We discuss recent advances in identifying new components of the cAMP/PKA pathway in these pathogens and highlight an emerging theme that pathway signaling influences iron acquisition.


cAMP/PKA pathway pathogenesis iron homeostasis pH signaling 


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Copyright information

© The Microbiological Society of Korea and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaehyuk Choi
    • 1
  • Won Hee Jung
    • 2
  • James W. Kronstad
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Life Sciences, and Culture Collection and DNA Bank of MushroomsIncheon National UniversityIncheonRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Systems BiotechnologyChung-Ang UniversityAnseongRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.The Michael Smith Laboratories, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Faculty of Land and Food SystemsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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