ERG11 mutations and expression of resistance genes in fluconazole-resistant Candida albicans isolates
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Azole resistance in the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans poses significant challenges for its antibiotic treatment. The conformational change of the target enzyme 14 alpha-demethylase (Erg11p) due to ERG11 gene mutations is one of the mechanisms resulting in the azole resistance. ERG11 of 23 isolates (8 susceptible and 15 resistant) and 6 standard strains of Candida albicans were amplified and sequenced. Nineteen missense mutations were detected. Two mutations, G487T (A114S) and T916C (Y257H), coexisted exclusively in 14 fluconazole-resistant isolates. To identify the resistance mechanisms in the isolates with G487T and T916C mutations, we compared the expression of 5 resistance-related genes in the 14 azole-resistant isolates with those in the susceptible type strain ATCC 10231, Saccharomyces cerevisiae AD/CDR1 and AD/CDR2. The tested values of mRNA transcription of CDR1 and CDR2 were higher than that of control strain, while the semi-quantified Cdr1p values were not higher in all of the 14 resistant isolates. And the data analyzed with t test suggest that both of the differences are significant (P < 0.0005) when the resistant isolates are considered as a whole. Cdr2p was up-regulated in 5 isolates, and down-regulated or even undetectable in the remaining 9 isolates. The transcription of ERG11, MDR1, and FLU1 varied in these isolates. These data suggested that overexpression of the five genes might not be the reason of resistance in the 14 isolates with G487T and T916C, especially in the 5 isolates (GZ09, GZ15, GZ16, GZ58, and 4263) in which neither translation of Cdr1p/Cdr2p nor transcription of ERG11, MDR1, or FLU1 was detected up-regulated. The results suggest that Erg11p conformational change due to the point mutations is most likely responsible for the azole resistance in these isolates.
KeywordsCandida albicans Drug resistance ERG11 Genes, MDR Mutation
This study was funded by the National Science Foundation of China (No. 30901294), the Shandong Provincial Science and Technology Project Fundation (No. 2009GG2NC02004), and the Shandong Provincial Natural Science Foundation, China (No. ZR2011HQ005). We thank Prof. John E. Bennett (National Institutes of Health, USA), Prof. Ann R. Holmes (Otago University, New Zealand), Prof. Liyan Xi (Sun Yat-sen University, China), Prof. Ruoyu Li (Peking University, China), Prof. Yongnian Shen (Chinese Cultural Collection Commission for Microbiology, China) for their kindly supply of isolates, or type strains, and Prof. Dominique Sanglard (University of Lausanne, Switzerland) for his anti-Cdr1p antibody as a gift.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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