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Mol Microbiol. 1999 May;32(3):547-56.

Sequential gene disruption in Candida albicans by FLP-mediated site-specific recombination.

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Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, Universität Würzburg, Röntgenring 11, D-97070 Würzburg, Germany.


The genetic manipulation of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans is difficult because of its diploid genome, the lack of a known sexual phase and its unusual codon usage. We devised a new method for sequential gene disruption in C. albicans that is based on the repeated use of the URA3 marker for selection of transformants and its subsequent deletion by FLP-mediated, site-specific recombination. A cassette was constructed that, in addition to the URA3 selection marker, contained an inducible SAP2P-FLP fusion and was flanked by direct repeats of the minimal FLP recognition site (FRT). This URA3 flipper cassette was used to generate homozygous C. albicans mutants disrupted for both alleles of either the CDR4 gene, encoding an ABC transporter, or the MDR1 gene, encoding a membrane transport protein of the major facilitator superfamily. After insertion of the URA3 flipper into the first copy of the target gene, the whole cassette could be efficiently excised by induced FLP-mediated recombination, leaving one FRT site in the disrupted allele of the target gene. The URA3 flipper was then used for another round of mutagenesis to disrupt the second allele. Deletion of the cassette from primary and secondary transformants occurred exclusively by intrachromosomal recombination of the FRT sites flanking the URA3 flipper, whereas interchromosomal recombination between FRT sites on the homologous chromosomes was never observed. This new gene disruption strategy facilitates the generation of specific, homozygous C. albicans mutants as it eliminates the need for a negative selection scheme for marker deletion and minimizes the risk of mitotic recombination in sequential disruption experiments.

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