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1.  Transcriptional Profiling of Candida glabrata during Phagocytosis by Neutrophils and in the Infected Mouse Spleen 
Infection and Immunity  2013;81(4):1325-1333.
Expression microarray analysis of Candida glabrata following phagocytosis by human neutrophils was performed, and results were compared with those from C. glabrata incubated under conditions of carbohydrate or nitrogen deprivation. Twenty genes were selected to represent the major cell processes altered by phagocytosis or nutrient deprivation. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) with TaqMan chemistry was used to assess expression of the same genes in spleens of mice infected intravenously with Candida glabrata. The results in spleen closely paralleled gene expression in neutrophils or following carbohydrate deprivation. Fungal cells responded by upregulating alternative energy sources through gluconeogenesis, glyoxylate cycle, and long-chain fatty acid metabolism. Autophagy was likely employed to conserve intracellular resources. Aspartyl protease upregulation occurred and may represent defense against attacks on cell wall integrity. Downregulated genes were in the pathways of protein and ergosterol synthesis. Upregulation of the sterol transport gene AUS1 suggested that murine cholesterol may have been used to replace ergosterol, as has been reported in vitro. C. glabrata isolates in spleens of gp91phox−/− knockout mice with reduced oxidative phagocyte defenses were grossly similar although with a reduced level of response. These results are consistent with reported results of other fungi responding to phagocytosis, indicating that a rapid shift in metabolism is required for growth in a carbohydrate-limited intracellular environment.
PMCID: PMC3639592  PMID: 23403555
2.  STB5 Is a Negative Regulator of Azole Resistance in Candida glabrata 
The opportunistic yeast pathogen Candida glabrata is recognized for its ability to acquire resistance during prolonged treatment with azole antifungals (J. E. Bennett, K. Izumikawa, and K. A. Marr. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 48:1773–1777, 2004). Resistance to azoles is largely mediated by the transcription factor PDR1, resulting in the upregulation of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter proteins and drug efflux. Studies in the related yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have shown that Pdr1p forms a heterodimer with another transcription factor, Stb5p. In C. glabrata, the open reading frame (ORF) designated CAGL0I02552g has 38.8% amino acid identity with STB5 (YHR178w) and shares an N-terminal Zn2Cys6 binuclear cluster domain and a fungus-specific transcriptional factor domain, prompting us to test for homologous function and a possible role in azole resistance. Complementation of a Δyhr178w (Δstb5) mutant with CAGL0I02552g resolved the increased sensitivity to cold, hydrogen peroxide, and caffeine of the mutant, for which reason we designated CAGl0I02552g CgSTB5. Overexpression of CgSTB5 in C. glabrata repressed azole resistance, whereas deletion of CgSTB5 caused a modest increase in resistance. Expression analysis found that CgSTB5 shares many transcriptional targets with CgPDR1 but, unlike the latter, is a negative regulator of pleiotropic drug resistance, including the ABC transporter genes CDR1, PDH1, and YOR1.
PMCID: PMC3553707  PMID: 23229483
3.  Microarray and Molecular Analyses of the Azole Resistance Mechanism in Candida glabrata Oropharyngeal Isolates▿  
DNA microarrays were used to analyze Candida glabrata oropharyngeal isolates from seven hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients whose isolates developed azole resistance while the recipients received fluconazole prophylaxis. Transcriptional profiling of the paired isolates revealed 19 genes upregulated in the majority of resistant isolates compared to their paired susceptible isolates. All seven resistant isolates had greater than 2-fold upregulation of C. glabrata PDR1 (CgPDR1), a master transcriptional regulator of the pleiotropic drug resistance (PDR) network, and all seven resistant isolates showed upregulation of known CgPDR1 target genes. The altered transcriptome can be explained in part by the observation that all seven resistant isolates had acquired a single nonsynonymous mutation in their CgPDR1 open reading frame. Four mutations occurred in the regulatory domain (L280P, L344S, G348A, and S391L) and one in the activation domain (G943S), while two mutations (N764I and R772I) occurred in an undefined region. Association of azole resistance and the CgPDR1 mutations was investigated in the same genetic background by introducing the CgPDR1 sequences from one sensitive isolate and five resistant isolates into a laboratory azole-hypersusceptible strain (Cgpdr1 strain) via integrative transformation. The Cgpdr1 strain was restored to wild-type fluconazole susceptibility when transformed with CgPDR1 from the susceptible isolate but became resistant when transformed with CgPDR1 from the resistant isolates. However, despite the identical genetic backgrounds, upregulation of CgPDR1 and CgPDR1 target genes varied between the five transformants, independent of the domain locations in which the mutations occurred. In summary, gain-of-function mutations in CgPDR1 contributed to the clinical azole resistance, but different mutations had various degrees of impact on the CgPDR1 target genes.
PMCID: PMC2916311  PMID: 20547810
4.  Candida glabrata PDR1, a Transcriptional Regulator of a Pleiotropic Drug Resistance Network, Mediates Azole Resistance in Clinical Isolates and Petite Mutants 
Candida glabrata, a yeast with intrinsically low susceptibility to azoles, frequently develops increased azole resistance during prolonged treatment. Transposon mutagenesis revealed that disruption of CgPDR1 resulted in an 8- to 16-fold increase in fluconazole susceptibility of C. glabrata. CgPDR1 is a homolog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae PDR1, which encodes a transcriptional regulator of multidrug transporters. Northern blot analyses indicated that CgPDR1 regulated both constitutive and drug-induced expression of CgCDR1, a multidrug transporter gene. In agreement with the Northern analysis, the Cgpdr1 mutant had increased rhodamine accumulation, in contrast to the decreased accumulation in the CgPDR1-overexpressing strain. Northern analyses also indicated the importance of CgPDR1 in fluconazole resistance arising during therapy. Two clinically resistant isolates had higher expression of CgPDR1 and CgCDR1 compared to their paired susceptible isolates. Integrative transformation of CgPDR1 from the two resistant isolates converted the Cgpdr1 mutant into azole-resistant strains with upregulated CgPDR1 expression. Two different amino acid substitutions, W297S in one isolate and F575L in the other, accounted for the upregulated CgPDR1 expression and the resistance. Finally, CgPDR1 was shown to be required for the azole resistance due to mitochondrial deficiency. Thus, CgPDR1 encodes a transcriptional regulator of a pleiotropic drug resistance network and contributes to the azole resistance of clinical isolates and petite mutants.
PMCID: PMC1426987  PMID: 16569856
5.  Candida glabrata erg1 Mutant with Increased Sensitivity to Azoles and to Low Oxygen Tension 
A Candida glabrata erg1 (Cgerg1) mutant, CgTn201S, was identified by transposon mutagenesis and by increased fluconazole susceptibility. CgERG1 encodes a 489-amino-acid protein which, on the basis of its homology with Saccharomyces cerevisiae ERG1, is a squalene epoxidase essential for ergosterol synthesis. Interruption following codon 475 of CgErg1p decreased the ergosterol content by 50%; caused accumulation of the squalene precursor; increased the levels of susceptibility to fluconazole, itraconazole, and terbinafine; increased the level of resistance to amphotericin B; increased the levels of rhodamine 6G and [3H]-fluconazole uptake; reduced the level of growth; and blocked growth under conditions of low oxygen tension. In addition, CgTn201S efficiently took up exogenous cholesterol from cholesterol-containing serum. Cholesterol constituted 34% of the extractable sterols in CgTn201S when it was grown aerobically on serum-containing medium. Under the same conditions, C. albicans contained only 0.1 to 1.2% cholesterol. Exogenous sterols also restored growth under conditions of low oxygen tension. Finally, complementation of the Cgerg1 mutation restored the levels of [3H]fluconazole uptake and drug susceptibility to wild-type levels.
PMCID: PMC434157  PMID: 15215098
6.  A Developmentally Regulated Gene Cluster Involved in Conidial Pigment Biosynthesis in Aspergillus fumigatus 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(20):6469-6477.
Aspergillus fumigatus, a filamentous fungus producing bluish-green conidia, is an important opportunistic pathogen that primarily affects immunocompromised patients. Conidial pigmentation of A. fumigatus significantly influences its virulence in a murine model. In the present study, six genes, forming a gene cluster spanning 19 kb, were identified as involved in conidial pigment biosynthesis in A. fumigatus. Northern blot analyses showed the six genes to be developmentally regulated and expressed during conidiation. The gene products of alb1 (for “albino 1”), arp1 (for “aspergillus reddish-pink 1”), and arp2 have high similarity to polyketide synthases, scytalone dehydratases, and hydroxynaphthalene reductases, respectively, found in the dihydroxynaphthalene (DHN)-melanin pathway of brown and black fungi. The abr1 gene (for “aspergillus brown 1”) encodes a putative protein possessing two signatures of multicopper oxidases. The abr2 gene product has homology to the laccase encoded by the yA gene of Aspergillus nidulans. The function of ayg1 (for “aspergillus yellowish-green 1”) remains unknown. Involvement of the six genes in conidial pigmentation was confirmed by the altered conidial color phenotypes that resulted from disruption of each gene in A. fumigatus. The presence of a DHN-melanin pathway in A. fumigatus was supported by the accumulation of scytalone and flaviolin in the arp1 deletant, whereas only flaviolin was accumulated in the arp2 deletants. Scytalone and flaviolin are well-known signature metabolites of the DHN-melanin pathway. Based on DNA sequence similarity, gene disruption results, and biochemical analyses, we conclude that the 19-kb DNA fragment contains a six-gene cluster which is required for conidial pigment biosynthesis in A. fumigatus. However, the presence of abr1, abr2, and ayg1 in addition to alb1, arp1, and arp2 suggests that conidial pigment biosynthesis in A. fumigatus is more complex than the known DHN-melanin pathway.
PMCID: PMC103784  PMID: 10515939
7.  The Developmentally Regulated alb1 Gene of Aspergillus fumigatus: Its Role in Modulation of Conidial Morphology and Virulence 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(12):3031-3038.
Aspergillus fumigatus, an important opportunistic pathogen which commonly affects neutropenic patients, produces conidia with a bluish-green color. We identified a gene, alb1, which is required for conidial pigmentation. The alb1 gene encodes a putative polyketide synthase, and disruption of alb1 resulted in an albino conidial phenotype. Expression of alb1 is developmentally regulated, and the 7-kb transcript is detected only during the conidiation stage. The alb1 mutation was found to block 1,3,6,8-tetrahydroxynaphthalene production, indicating that alb1 is involved in dihydroxynaphthalene-melanin biosynthesis. Scanning electron microscopy studies showed that the alb1 disruptant exhibited a smooth conidial surface, whereas complementation of the alb1 deletion restored the echinulate wild-type surface. Disruption of alb1 resulted in a significant increase in C3 binding on conidial surfaces, and the conidia of the alb1 disruptant were ingested by human neutrophils at a higher rate than were those of the wild type. The alb1-complemented strain producing bluish-green conidia exhibited inefficient C3 binding and neutrophil-mediated phagocytosis quantitatively similar to those of the wild type. Importantly, the alb1 disruptant had a statistically significant loss of virulence compared to the wild-type and alb1-complemented strains in a murine model. These results suggest that disruption of alb1 causes pleiotropic effects on conidial morphology and fungal virulence.
PMCID: PMC107801  PMID: 9620950

Results 1-7 (7)