Chemogenomic profiling of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans

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Abstract

There is currently a small number of classes of antifungal drugs, and these drugs are known to target a very limited set of cellular functions. We derived a set of approximately 900 nonessential, transactivator-defective disruption strains from the tetracycline-regulated GRACE collection of strains of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans . This strain set was screened against classic antifungal drugs to identify gene inactivations that conferred either enhanced sensitivity or increased resistance to the compounds. We examined two azoles, fluconazole and posaconazole; two echinocandins, caspofungin and anidulafungin; and a polyene, amphotericin B. Overall, the chemogenomic profiles within drug classes were highly similar, but there was little overlap between classes, suggesting that the different drug classes interacted with discrete networks of genes in C. albicans . We also tested two pyridine amides, designated GPI-LY7 and GPI-C107; these drugs gave very similar profiles that were distinct from those of the echinocandins, azoles, or polyenes, supporting the idea that they target a distinct cellular function. Intriguingly, in cases where these gene sets can be compared to genetic disruptions conferring drug sensitivity in other fungi, we find very little correspondence in genes. Thus, even though the drug targets are the same in the different species, the specific genetic profiles that can lead to drug sensitivity are distinct. This implies that chemogenomic screens of one organism may be poorly predictive of the profiles found in other organisms and that drug sensitivity and resistance profiles can differ significantly among organisms even when the apparent target of the drug is the same.

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Chen, Y., Mallick, J., Maqnas, A., Sun, Y., Choudhury, B. I., Côte, P., … Whiteway, M. (2018). Chemogenomic profiling of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 62(2). https://doi.org/10.1128/AAC.02365-17

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