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J Bacteriol. 1994 Sep;176(18):5686-96.

A Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant with echinocandin-resistant 1,3-beta-D-glucan synthase.

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  • 1Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, New Jersey 07065.


A novel, potent, semisynthetic pneumocandin, L-733,560, was used to isolate a resistant mutant in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This compound, like other pneumocandins and echinocandins, inhibits 1,3-beta-D-glucan synthase from Candida albicans (F.A. Bouffard, R.A. Zambias, J. F. Dropinski, J.M. Balkovec, M.L. Hammond, G.K. Abruzzo, K.F. Bartizal, J.A. Marrinan, M. B. Kurtz, D.C. McFadden, K.H. Nollstadt, M.A. Powles, and D.M. Schmatz, J. Med. Chem. 37:222-225, 1994). Glucan synthesis catalyzed by a crude membrane fraction prepared from the S. cerevisiae mutant R560-1C was resistant to inhibition by L-733,560. The nearly 50-fold increase in the 50% inhibitory concentration against glucan synthase was commensurate with the increase in whole-cell resistance. R560-1C was cross-resistant to other inhibitors of C. albicans 1,3-beta-D-glucan synthase (aculeacin A, dihydropapulacandin, and others) but not to compounds with different modes of action. Genetic analysis revealed that enzyme and whole-cell pneumocandin resistance was due to a single mutant gene, designated etg1-1 (echinocandin target gene 1), which was semidominant in heterozygous diploids. The etg1-1 mutation did not confer enhanced ability to metabolize L-733,560 and had no effect on the membrane-bound enzymes chitin synthase I and squalene synthase. Alkali-soluble beta-glucan synthesized by crude microsomes from R560-1C was indistinguishable from the wild-type product. 1,3-beta-D-Glucan synthase activity from R560-1C was fractionated with NaCl and Tergitol NP-40; reconstitution with fractions from wild-type membranes revealed that drug resistance is associated with the insoluble membrane fraction. We propose that the etg1-1 mutant gene encodes a subunit of the 1,3-beta-D-glucan synthase complex.

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