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Med Mycol. 2008 Feb;46(1):1-15.

Discovering the secrets of the Candida albicans agglutinin-like sequence (ALS) gene family--a sticky pursuit.

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Department of Pathobiology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA.


The agglutinin-like sequence (ALS) family of Candida albicans includes eight genes that encode large cell-surface glycoproteins. The high degree of sequence relatedness between the ALS genes and the tremendous allelic variability often present in the same C. albicans strain complicated definition and characterization of the gene family. The main hypothesis driving ALS family research is that the genes encode adhesins, primarily involved in host-pathogen interactions. Although adhesive function has been demonstrated for several Als proteins, the challenge of studying putative adhesins in a highly adhesive organism like C. albicans has led to varying ideas about how best to pursue such investigations, and results that are sometimes contradictory. Recent analysis of alsdelta/alsdelta strains suggested roles for Als proteins outside of adhesion to host surfaces, and a broader scope of Als protein function than commonly believed. The availability and use of experimental methodologies to study C. albicans at the genomic level, and the ALS family en masse, have advanced knowledge of these genes and emphasized their importance in C. albicans biology and pathogenesis.

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