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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2008 Nov;52(11):3851-62. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00463-08. Epub 2008 Aug 18.

ABC transporter Cdr1p contributes more than Cdr2p does to fluconazole efflux in fluconazole-resistant Candida albicans clinical isolates.

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Department of Oral Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Fluconazole (FLC) remains the antifungal drug of choice for non-life-threatening Candida infections, but drug-resistant strains have been isolated during long-term therapy with azoles. Drug efflux, mediated by plasma membrane transporters, is a major resistance mechanism, and clinically significant resistance in Candida albicans is accompanied by increased transcription of the genes CDR1 and CDR2, encoding plasma membrane ABC-type transporters Cdr1p and Cdr2p. The relative importance of each transporter protein for efflux-mediated resistance in C. albicans, however, is unknown; neither the relative amounts of each polypeptide in resistant isolates nor their contributions to efflux function have been determined. We have exploited the pump-specific properties of two antibody preparations, and specific pump inhibitors, to determine the relative expression and functions of Cdr1p and Cdr2p in 18 clinical C. albicans isolates. The antibodies and inhibitors were standardized using recombinant Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains that hyper-express either protein in a host strain with a reduced endogenous pump background. In all 18 C. albicans strains, including 13 strains with reduced FLC susceptibilities, Cdr1p was present in greater amounts (2- to 20-fold) than Cdr2p. Compounds that inhibited Cdr1p-mediated function, but had no effect on Cdr2p efflux activity, significantly decreased the resistance to FLC of seven representative C. albicans isolates, whereas three other compounds that inhibited both pumps did not cause increased chemosensitization of these strains to FLC. We conclude that Cdr1p expression makes a greater functional contribution than does Cdr2p to FLC resistance in C. albicans.

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