The hybrid RAVE complex plays V-ATPase-dependent and -independent pathobiological roles in Cryptococcus neoformans

Jin-Tae Choi, Yeseul Choi,Yujin Lee,Seung-Heon Lee, Seun Kang,Kyung-Tae Lee,Yong-Sun Bahn


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V-ATPase, which comprises 13-14 subunits, is essential for pH homeostasis in all eukaryotes, but its proper function requires a regulator to assemble its subunits. While RAVE (regulator of H+-ATPase of vacuolar and endosomal membranes) and Raboconnectin-3 complexes assemble V-ATPase subunits in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and humans, respectively, the function of the RAVE complex in fungal pathogens remains largely unknown. In this study, we identified two RAVE complex components, Rav1 and Wdr1, in the fungal meningitis pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans, and analyzed their roles. Rav1 and Wdr1 are orthologous to yeast RAVE and human Rabconnectin-3 counterparts, respectively, forming the hybrid RAVE (hRAVE) complex. Deletion of RAV1 caused severe defects in growth, cell cycle control, morphogenesis, sexual development, stress responses, and virulence factor production, while the deletion of WDR1 resulted in similar but modest changes, suggesting that Rav1 and Wdr1 play central and accessary roles, respectively. Proteomics analysis confirmed that Wdr1 was one of the Rav1-interacting proteins. Although the hRAVE complex generally has V-ATPase-dependent functions, it also has some V-ATPase-independent roles, suggesting a unique role beyond conventional intracellular pH regulation in C. neoformans. The hRAVE complex played a critical role in the pathogenicity of C. neoformans, and RAV1 deletion attenuated virulence and impaired blood-brain barrier crossing ability. This study provides comprehensive insights into the pathobiological roles of the fungal RAVE complex and suggests a novel therapeutic strategy for controlling cryptococcosis.
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