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Mol Microbiol. 2007 Jun;64(6):1587-604.

Heterozygosity of genes on the sex chromosome regulates Candida albicans virulence.

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Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52252, USA.


In the mouse model for systemic infection, natural a/alpha strains of C. albicans are more virulent and more competitive than their spontaneous MTL-homozygous offspring, which arise primarily by loss of one chromosome 5 homologue followed by duplication of the retained homologue (uniparental disomy). Deletion of either the a or alpha copy of the MTL locus of natural a/alpha strains results in a small decrease in virulence, and a small decrease in competitiveness. Loss of the heterozygosity of non-MTL genes along chromosome 5, however, results in larger decreases in virulence and competitiveness. Natural MTL-homozygous strains are on average less virulent than natural MTL-heterozygous strains and arise by multiple mitotic cross-overs along chromosome 5 outside of the MTL region. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that a competitive advantage of natural a/alpha strains over MTL-homozygous offspring maintains the mating system of C. albicans.

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