Amphotericin, miconazole, and ciclopirox are antifungal agents from three different drug classes that can effectively kill planktonic yeast, yet their complete fungicidal mechanisms are not fully understood. Here, we employ a systems biology approach to identify a common oxidative-damage cellular death pathway triggered by these representative fungicides in Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This mechanism utilizes a signaling cascade involving the GTPases Ras1 and Ras2 and protein kinase A, and it culminates in death through the production of toxic reactive oxygen species in a tricarboxylic-acid-cycle- and respiratory-chain-dependent manner. We also show that the metabolome of C. albicans is altered by antifungal drug treatment, exhibiting a shift from fermentation to respiration, a jump in the AMP/ATP ratio, and elevated production of sugars; this coincides with elevated mitochondrial activity. Lastly, we demonstrate that DNA damage plays a critical role in antifungal-induced cellular death and that blocking DNA-repair mechanisms potentiates fungicidal activity.
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