Candida glabrata is an opportunistic human pathogen that is increasingly associated with candidemia, owing in part to the intrinsic and acquired high tolerance this organism exhibits to the important clinical antifungal drug fluconazole. This elevated fluconazole resistance often develops through gain-of-function mutations in the zinc cluster-containing transcriptional regulator CgPdr1. CgPdr1 induces expression of an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter-encoding gene CgCDR1. Saccharomyces cerevisiae has two CgPdr1 homologues called ScPdr1 and ScPdr3. These factors control the expression of an ABC transporter-encoding gene called ScPDR5, which is a homologue of CgCDR1. Loss of the mitochondrial genome (rho(0) cell) or overexpression of the mitochondrial enzyme ScPsd1 induces ScPDR5 expression in a strictly ScPdr3-dependent fashion. ScPdr3 requires the presence of a transcriptional Mediator subunit called Gal11 (Med15) to fully induce ScPDR5 transcription in response to rho(0) signaling. ScPdr1 does not respond to either rho(0) signals or ScPsd1 overproduction. In this study, we employed transcriptional fusions between CgPdr1 target promoters, like CgCDR1, to demonstrate that CgPdr1 stimulates gene expression via binding to elements called Pleiotropic Drug Response Elements (PDREs). Deletion mapping and electrophoretic mobility shift assays demonstrated that a single PDRE in the CgCDR1 promoter was capable of supporting rho(0)-induced gene expression. Removal of one of the two ScGal11 homologues from C. glabrata caused a major defect in drug-induced expression of CgCDR1 but had a quantitatively minor effect on rho(0)-stimulated transcription. These data demonstrate that CgPdr1 appears to combine features of ScPdr1 and ScPdr3 to produce a transcription factor with chimeric regulatory properties.
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