The fungus Candida glabrata is an increasingly common cause of an infection called candidiasis, which is usually superficial and unpleasant – oral thrush, for instance – but can be life threatening in people with compromised immune systems. This particular fungal invader is highly resistant to drugs, but it doesn’t secrete the enzymes usually associated with resilience. To figure out why it’s such a formidable foe, researchers built a library of over 600 mutant C. glabrata strains, each lacking a specific gene. Pictured are the individual cells and the colonies they form. Top left is the wild-type strain and the others are deletion strains. By studying the various strains as they were exposed to stresses, including anti-fungal drugs, the scientists identified genes involved in C. glabrata’s fitness and resilience. Their deletion library could potentially help to reveal weak points that might be exploited with new anti-fungal drugs.
Written by Daniel Cossins
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