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J Bacteriol. 1988 Apr;170(4):1950-4.

Isolation and characterization of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants resistant to Calcofluor white.

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Instituto de Microbiología Bioquímica, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.


Calcofluor is a fluorochrome that exhibits antifungal activity and a high affinity for yeast cell wall chitin. We isolated Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants resistant to Calcofluor. The resistance segregated in a Mendelian fashion and behaved as a recessive character in all the mutants analyzed. Five loci were defined by complementation analysis. The abnormally thick septa between mother and daughter cells caused by Calcofluor in wild-type cells were absent in the mutants. The Calcofluor-binding capacity, observed by fluorescence microscopy, in a S. cerevisiae wild-type cells during alpha-factor treatment was also absent in some mutants and reduced in others. Staining of cell walls with wheat germ agglutinin-fluorescein complex indicated that the chitin uniformly distributed over the whole cell wall in vegetative or in alpha-factor-treated cells was almost absent in three of the mutants and reduced in the two others. Cell wall analysis evidenced a five- to ninefold reduction in the amount of chitin in mutants compared with that in the wild-type strain. The total amounts of cell wall mannan and beta-glucan in wild-type and mutant strains were similar; however, the percentage of beta-glucan that remained insoluble after alkali extraction was considerably reduced in mutant cells. The susceptibilities of the mutants and the wild-type strains to a cell wall enzymic lytic complex were rather similar. The in vitro levels of chitin synthase 2 detected in all mutants were similar to that in the wild type. The significance of these results is discussed in connection with the mechanism of chitin synthesis and cell wall morphogenesis in S. cerevisiae.

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