Heat Shock pp 143-153 | Cite as

Heat Shock Response during Morphogenesis in the Dimorphic Pathogenic Fungus Histoplasma capsulatum

  • L. Carratù
  • B. Maresca
Conference paper


Temperature changes (and a variety of other stimuli) coordinately induce in all organisms active transcription of specific genes (heat shock genes). In dimorphic organisms the increase in the temperature of incubation has important consequences since temperature works as a signal for adaptation (induction of heat shock phenomenon) and triggers the phase transition. Infact, parasites and dimorphic organisms in general may exist in multiple hosts that have different body temperatures, and exhibit distinct stages during morphogenesis. Therefore, these organisms are particular cases of developmentally regulated heat shock response. An important characteristic of morphogenesis in some dimorphic fungi is that induction of one phase leads to the form found in infected tissue. Dimorphic pathogenic fungi have in fact the unique ability to colonize host tissue that is parallel to and may be intimately involved with the developmentally regulated morphological transition. In laboratory conditions, dimorphism in the human pathogenic fungus H.capsulatum is directly and reversibly controlled by temperature changes: mycelium (25°C) ⇔ yeast (37°) (Schwaiz, 1981; Maresca and Kobayashi, 1989). Therefore, in this fungus, temperature is a primaiy factor that controls phase transition. Since a sudden temperature change to 37°C induces the mycelial to yeast-phase transition, Lambowitz et al. suggested that the early event of the mycelium to yeast transition in H. capsulatum was a “heat shock response” which was followed by cell adaptation to the higher temperature (Lambowitz et al., 1983). Furthermore, it has been suggested that also in other diphasic organisms morphogenesis might be a by-product of the heat shock response (Maresca and Kobayashi,1989). However, in these system it is difficult to distinguish the effect of temparature on morpohogenesis from the induction of the heat shock responce.In fact, in H. capsulatum at temperatures at which heat shock proteins are not induced (heat shock mRNAs are not measurable)phase transition from mycelium to yeast does not occur(Maresca,unpublished).


Heat Shock Heat Shock Protein Heat Shock Response Hsp70 mRNA Heat Shock Gene 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Carratù
    • 1
  • B. Maresca
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.International Institute of Genetics and BiophysicsNaplesUSA
  2. 2.Dep. of Internal MedicineWashington University, School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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