[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polyene antifungal drugs, including amphotericin B or nystatin, target ergosterol in the fungal plasma membrane and are used to treat systemic, vaginal and oral fungal infections. In the oral cavity, the available nitrogen sources are primarily in the form of proteins, which are poor nitrogen sources. This study evaluates the effect of protein as a nitrogen source on drug susceptibilities.
Candida albicans was grown in protein [bovine serum albumin (BSA) or casein (CSN)] as a sole nitrogen source, in ammonium sulphate (AS) as a nitrogen source, or in both protein and AS.
Cells grown in BSA or CSN were 4- to 16-fold less susceptible to amphotericin B and nystatin than those grown in AS. Similar results were observed for cycloheximide, but not for fluconazole or caspofungin, and were observed for many C. albicans clinical isolates. The results were observed in two different media, and in broth and on agar. Cells grown under these nitrogen-poor conditions have a reduction in ergosterol sterol levels and a reduction in overall sterol synthesis. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis shows that some genes involved in sterol biosynthesis are induced under nitrogen-limiting conditions, consistent with the lower sterol levels.
The results demonstrate that nitrogen source has a significant effect on polyene susceptibilities. As these nitrogen-limiting conditions mimic oral nitrogen availability, they suggest that in vitro polyene susceptibilities may overestimate the in vivo susceptibilities to polyene drugs in the mouth.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Caspofungin (CSP) susceptibilities of Candida albicans, as determined by broth microdilution methods, have not been found to be related to azole susceptibilities or resistance. In contrast, it has been observed that azole-resistant clinical isolates that overexpress the efflux pump gene CDR2 are less susceptible to CSP when tested using an agar dilution method commonly employed with Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The goal of this study was to further understand the effects of azole resistance mechanisms on CSP susceptibility testing. A collection of 69 isolates exhibiting known mechanisms of azole resistance and resistance-associated phenotypes were analyzed by broth microdilution methods to determine standard minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for CSP. The same isolates were then analyzed as to their MIC to CSP by Etest strips, an agar-based method that has been shown generally to be comparable to broth methods. The MICs found with both methods were not significantly different. However, a collection of strains overexpressing the efflux pump CDR2 did exhibit a spectrum of CSP susceptibilities when examined by agar dilution susceptibility tests, ranging from standard to reduced susceptibilities. This work demonstrated that a change in CSP susceptibility with CDR2 overexpressing cells in agar dilution studies is a variable phenotype and it is not the result of growth conditions (i.e., broth versus agar).
Medical Mycology 06/2008; 46(3):231-9. DOI:10.1080/13693780701816557 · 2.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tetracycline (TET) promoter has been used in several systems as an inducible regulator of gene expression. In control analyses, the standard Candida albicans laboratory strain SC5314 was found to have altered susceptibility to a variety of antifungal drugs in the presence of relatively high concentrations (50-200 microg ml(-1)) of TET. Altered susceptibility was most notable with exposure to amphotericin B (AMB), with a 32-fold increase in susceptibility, and terbinafine (TRB), with a 32-fold decrease in susceptibility. The TET/AMB synergy was observed in several clinical isolates of C. albicans and in the distantly related species Aspergillus fumigatus and Cryptococcus neoformans. The TET/AMB synergy is not related to efflux pump activity, as determined by FACS analyses and by analysis of a strain containing efflux pump deletions. Gene expression analyses by luciferase and by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase PCR failed to identify significant alterations in expression of any genes associated with resistance. C. albicans grown with TET for 48 h does show a reduction in total cellular ergosterol. Analysis of growth curves suggests that the TET effect is associated with lack of a diauxic shift, which is related to a loss of mitochondrial function. MitoTracker fluorescent dye was used to demonstrate that TET has a direct effect on mitochondrial function. These results demonstrate the need for careful analysis of TET effects when using a TET-inducible promoter, especially in studies that involve antifungal drugs. This study defines some limits to the use of the TET-inducible promoter, and identifies effects on cells that are the result of TET exposure alone, not the result of expression of a targeted gene.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Resistance of Candida albicans to azole antifungal drugs is mediated by two types of efflux pumps, encoded by the MDR1 gene and the CDR gene family. MDR1 mRNA levels in a susceptible clinical isolate are induced by benomyl (BEN) but not by other drugs previously shown to induce MDR1. To monitor MDR1 expression under several conditions, the MDR1 promoter was fused to the Renilla reniformis luciferase reporter gene (RLUC). The promoter was monitored for its responses to four oxidizing agents, five toxic hydrophobic compounds, and an alkylating agent, all shown to induce major facilitator pumps in other organisms. Deletion constructs of the MDR1 promoter were used to analyze the basal transcription of the promoter and its responses to the toxic compound BEN and the oxidizing agent tert-butyl hydrogen peroxide (T-BHP). The cis-acting elements in the MDR1 promoter responsible for induction by BEN were localized between -399 and -299 upstream of the start codon. The cis-acting elements responsible for MDR1 induction by T-BHP were localized between -601 and -500 upstream of the start codon. The T-BHP induction region contains a sequence that resembles the YAP1-responsive element (YRE) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This Candida YRE was placed upstream of a noninducible promoter in the luciferase construct, resulting in an inducible promoter. Inversion or mutation of the 7-bp YRE eliminated induction. Many of the drugs used in this analysis induce the MDR1 promoter at concentrations that inhibit cell growth. These analyses define cis-acting elements responsible for drug induction of the MDR1 promoter.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Candida albicans, drug resistance to clinically important antifungal drugs may be regulated through the action of transcription factors in a manner that may or may not be similar to regulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A search of the C. albicans genome identified a single homolog of the S. cerevisiae transcription factor genes UPC2 (ScUPC2) and ECM22 (ScECM22) that have been associated with regulation of ergosterol biosynthesis. Sequence analysis of this C. albicans UPC2 (CaUPC2) gene identifies two domains, an anchoring transmembrane domain and a transcription factor region containing multiple nuclear localization signals and a fungal Zn(2)-Cys(6) binuclear cluster domain. Heterozygous deletion, homozygous deletion, and reconstructed strains of CaUPC2 as well as the parental strain were tested against several antifungal drugs, including ergosterol biosynthesis inhibitors. The CaUPC2 homozygous deletion strain showed marked hypersusceptibility to most drugs, compared to the parental and reconstructed strains. The deletion strains accumulate significantly less radiolabeled cholesterol, suggesting reduced ergosterol scavenging in those strains. When grown under azole drug pressure, the parental, heterozygous deletion and reconstructed strains of CaUPC2 upregulate the ERG2 and ERG11 ergosterol biosynthesis genes, while the homozygous deletion strain shows no such upregulation. Consistent with these results, CaUPC2 deletion strains show reduced ergosterol levels, which may explain the increased susceptibilities of the CaUPC2 deletion strains. Thus, it appears that CaUPC2 acts as a transcription factor involved in the regulation of ergosterol biosynthetic genes and as a regulator of sterol uptake across the plasma membrane.