Candida albicans requires Mg2+ for germ-tube formation. Mg-deficient media, metal ion chelators and the ionophore A23187 inhibited germ-tube formation. Cell Mg content during exponential yeast-phase growth remained constant but increased throughout germ-tube formation. The onset of germ-tube formation coincided with a sharp peak in Mg concentration within the cells. Yeast-phase cells of strain CA2, which did not form germ-tubes, had a lower Mg content and failed to accumulate Mg when incubated under conditions for germ-tube formation. Mg also increased the uptake and incorporation of N-acetylglucosamine. These findings point to a central regulatory role for Mg in C. albicans morphogenesis.