The Mould-Specific M46 Gene is Not Essential for Yeast-Mould Dimorphism in the Pathogenic Fungus Histoplasma capsulatum

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Biological Sciences


Histoplasma capsulatum (Hc) is the causative agent for the respiratory infection histoplasmosis. The fungus exists in the environment as a saprophytic multi-cellular mould. Spores are inhaled by mammals whereupon the organism will convert into the single-celled yeast morphotype resulting in infection. The shift to the yeast morphotype is required for pathogenesis. Most studies on dimorphism have examined yeast-phase-specific genes and few mould-phase-specific genes have been investigated. It is likely, that some mould-phase-specific genes must be downregulated for the yeast to form or upregulated for the mould to form. We isolated a strongly expressed mould-specific gene, M46 , from an expression library enriched for mould upregulated genes in Hc strain G186AS. To determine if M46 is involved in dimorphism, M46 was ectopically expressed in yeast phase growing temperature, and an m46 knockout strain was created via allelic replacement. Ectopically expressing M46 in yeast, did not induce filamentous growth. Genomic disruption of M46 by allelic replacement did not alter the morphology of the mould as seen in bright field microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. A growth curve study, revealed that M46 is not involved in maintaining the growth rate of cells. These findings indicate that the mould specific M46 gene is not necessary nor essential for dimorphism, maintaining the normal mould morphology, and growth rate of Histoplasma capsulatum.

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Medical Mycology





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