Expression of firefly luciferase in Candida albicans and its use in the selection of stable transformants.
ABSTRACT The infectious yeast Candida albicans is a model organism for understanding the mechanisms of fungal pathogenicity. We describe the functional expression of the firefly luciferase gene, a reporter commonly used to tag genes in many other cellular systems. Due to a non-standard codon usage by this yeast, the CUG codons were first mutated to UUG to allow functional expression. When integrated into the chromosome of C. albicans with a strong constitutive promoter, cells bioluminesce when provided with luciferin substrate in their media. When fused to the inducible promoter from the HWP1 gene, expression and bioluminescence was only detected in cultures conditioning hyphal growth. We further used the luciferase gene as a selection to isolate transformed cell lines from clinical isolates of C. albicans, using a high-density screening strategy that purifies transformed colonies by virtue of light emission. This strategy requires no drug or auxotrophic selectable marker, and we were thus able to generate stable transformants of clinical isolates that are identical to the parental strain in all aspects tested, other than their bioluminescence. The firefly luciferase gene can, therefore, be used as a sensitive reporter to analyze gene function both in laboratory and clinical isolates of this medically important yeast.
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ABSTRACT: Candida albicans is one of the most common fungal pathogen in humans due to its high frequency as an opportunistic and pathogenic fungus causing superficial as well as invasive infections in immunocompromised patients. An understanding of gene function in C. albicans is necessary to study the molecular basis of its pathogenesis, virulence and drug resistance. Several manipulation techniques have been used for investigation of gene function in C. albicans, including gene disruption, controlled gene expression, protein tagging, gene reintegration, and overexpression. In this review, the main cassettes containing selectable markers used for gene manipulation in C. albicans are summarized; the advantages and limitations of these cassettes are discussed concerning the influences on the target gene expression and the virulence of the mutant strains.Virulence 04/2014; 5(4). DOI:10.4161/viru.28893 · 3.32 Impact Factor
PLoS Pathogens 07/2014; 10(7):e1004179. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004179 · 8.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The production of transgenic fungi is a routine process. Currently, it is possible to insert genes from other fungi, viruses, bacteria and even animals, albeit with low efficiency, into the genomes of a number of fungal species. Genetic transformation requires the penetration of the transgene through the fungal cell wall, a process that can be facilitated by biological or physical methods. Novel methodologies for the efficient introduction of specific genes and stronger promoters are needed to increase production levels. A possible solution to this problem is the recently discovered shock-wave-mediated transformation. The objective of this article is to review the state of the art of the physical methods used for genetic fungi transformation and to describe some of the basic physics and molecular biology behind them.Physics of Life Reviews 06/2014; 11(2). DOI:10.1016/j.plrev.2014.01.007 · 9.48 Impact Factor