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Infect Immun. 1993 Oct;61(10):4446-51.

The gene encoding phosphoribosylaminoimidazole carboxylase (ADE2) is essential for growth of Cryptococcus neoformans in cerebrospinal fluid.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710.


A cryptococcal meningitis model in corticosteroid-treated rabbits was used to assess the requirement for the phosphoribosylaminoimidazole gene (ADE2) for virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans. A wild-type strain (H99), an ade2 auxotroph of H99 (M001), and a randomly selected prototrophic transformant of M001 (M001.1c) which had received the cloned ADE2 cDNA copy were inoculated intrathecally into immunosuppressed rabbits. While M001 was avirulent in the central nervous system model, virulence was completely restored to wild-type pathogenicity in the prototrophic transformant. This study identifies the pathogenic importance of an endogenous adenine pathway in this yeast and confirms that purine biosynthesis is a potential target for antifungal therapy. It also demonstrates that the virulence of C. neoformans can be molecularly changed and detected within a clinically relevant animal model.

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