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Fungal Genet Biol. 2012 Mar;49(3):227-34. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2012.01.006. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Strain-related differences in antibody-mediated changes in gene expression are associated with differences in capsule and location of binding.

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Department of Basic Sciences, The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, PA 18509, USA.


We recently established that antibody (Ab)-binding can induce gene expression changes in a serotype A strain (H99) of the pathogenic yeast, Cryptococcus neoformans. That study showed that monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) differing in epitope specificity and protective efficacy elicited differences in gene expression. Because many mAbs bind to serotypes A and D strains differently, we now investigate the binding of one mAb to two strains representing these serotypes. Cells of the serotype A strain H99 and the serotype D strain 24067 were incubated with near saturating concentrations of the IgG1 capsule-binding mAb 18B7 or MOPC, an irrelevant mAb matched control. Comparative immunofluorescence analysis of mAb 18B7 binding revealed that it bound closer to the cell wall in H99 than 24067, where it was associated with decreased or increased cell diameter, respectively. A comparison of encapsulated cell compressibility showed that strain 24067 was more compressible than that of strain H99. RNA was extracted and used for gene expression analysis using the C. neoformans JEC21 genomic microarray. After 1h incubation with mAb 18B7, there were just 2 gene expression changes observed with strain 24067 or strain JEC21, unlike the 43 seen with strain H99. After 4h incubation with mAb 18B7, there were 14 and 140 gene expression changes observed with strain 24067 and JEC21, respectively. Thus, C. neoformans strains differ both in the response and the time of response to mAb binding and these differences may reflect differences in the location of Ab binding, Ab-mediated changes in cell diameter and compressibility of the capsular polysaccharide.

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