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Yeast. 2001 Sep 15;18(12):1117-29.

CaALK8, an alkane assimilating cytochrome P450, confers multidrug resistance when expressed in a hypersensitive strain of Candida albicans.

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Membrane Biology Laboratory, School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi-110067, India.


We report the isolation of a novel C. albicans gene designated CaALK8, by its ability to complement drug hypersensitivity of a pdr5 (ABC: ATP-binding cassette drug extrusion pump) null mutant of S. cerevisiae (JG436). CaALK8 in JG436 conferred resistance to drugs such as cycloheximide (CYH), fluconazole (FCZ), O-phenanthroline (PHE) and 4-nitroquinoline oxide (NQO). The gene was so designated because its sequence was identical to a partial sequence entry named as ALK8 in the Candida database ( CaALK8 encodes for a putative 515 amino acid protein highly homologous to alkane-inducible cytochromes P450 (CYP52 gene family) of C. maltosa and C. tropicalis. The ability of CaALK8 to confer drug resistance was also established by its expression in another drug-hypersensitive strain of S. cerevisiae (AD 1234568), which was deleted in seven ABC efflux pumps. The homozygous disruption of CaALK8 in a wild-type C. albicans strain (CAI4) did not result in altered drug susceptibilities. The overexpression of CaALK8 in CAI4 resulted in only FCZ resistance. However, a distinct MDR phenotype was evident when CaALK8 was overexpressed in a drug-hypersensitive C. albicans strain disrupted in both CDR1 and CDR2 (ABC drug extrusion pumps of C. albicans). Alk8p, similar to other Alk proteins from C. maltosa and C. tropicalis, could hydroxylate alkanes and fatty acids. In this study we demonstrate that several drugs could compete with the hydroxylation activity by directly interacting with CaAlk8p. Taken together, our results suggest that a member of the CYP52 gene family could mediate MDR in C. albicans, although it does not seem to be involved in the development of azole resistance in clinical isolates. The nucleotide sequence reported in this paper has been submitted to GenBank under Accession No. Y14766.

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