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Microbiology. 2002 Sep;148(Pt 9):2811-7.

Compensatory expression of five chitin synthase genes, a response to stress stimuli, in Wangiella (Exophiala) dermatitidis, a melanized fungal pathogen of humans.

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Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


Numerous chitin synthase structural (CHS) genes have been identified in fungi, and usually there are several CHS genes per species. Compensatory expression of one CHS gene in response to defects in other CHS genes has not been reported. Five chitin synthase structural (WdCHS) genes have been identified in the melanized human pathogen Wangiella dermatitidis: WdCHS1, WdCHS2, WdCHS3, WdCHS4 and WdCHS5. This study showed that increased WdCHS expression existed as a compensatory mechanism in response to stress induced by chitin synthase gene disruptions, or by exposure of the wild-type or two temperature-sensitive morphological mutants, for short or long periods, to 37 degrees C. In general, the compensatory responses varied with each WdCHS gene, and in accordance with the hypothesized functions of the chitin synthase (WdChsp) encoded. It is suggested that these compensatory responses indicate that WdCHS gene transcription in W. dermatitidis functions as part of a cell-wall integrity pathway in a manner similar to that recently described for Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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