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Genome Res. 2002 Sep;12(9):1386-400.

Temperature-regulated transcription in the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans.

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Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3, Canada.


The basidiomycete fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic pathogen of worldwide importance that causes meningitis, leading to death in immunocompromised individuals. Unlike many basidiomycete fungi, C. neoformans is thermotolerant, and its ability to grow at 37 degrees C is considered to be a virulence factor. We used serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) to characterize the transcriptomes of C. neoformans strains that represent two varieties with different polysaccharide capsule serotypes. These include a serotype D strain of the C. neoformans variety neoformans and a serotype A strain of variety grubii. In this report, we describe the construction and characterization of SAGE libraries from each strain grown at 25 degrees C and 37 degrees C. The SAGE data reveal transcriptome differences between the two strains, even at this early stage of analysis, and identify sets of genes with higher transcript levels at 25 degrees C or 37 degrees C. Notably, growth at the lower temperature increased transcript levels for histone genes, indicating a general influence of temperature on chromatin structure. At 37 degrees C, we noted elevated transcript levels for several genes encoding heat shock proteins and translation machinery. Some of these genes may play a role in temperature-regulated phenotypes in C. neoformans, such as the adaptation of the fungus to growth in the host and the dimorphic transition between budding and filamentous growth. Overall, this work provides the most comprehensive gene expression data available for C. neoformans; this information will be a critical resource both for gene discovery and genome annotation in this pathogen.

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