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Microbiology. 2017 Jun;163(6):856-865. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.000478. Epub 2017 Jun 22.

A chromosome 4 trisomy contributes to increased fluconazole resistance in a clinical isolate of Candida albicans.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Brown University, Providence, RI, 02912, USA.


Candida albicans is an important opportunistic fungal pathogen capable of causing both mucosal and disseminated disease. Infections are often treated with fluconazole, a front-line antifungal drug that targets the biosynthesis of ergosterol, a major component of the fungal cell membrane. Resistance to fluconazole can arise through a variety of mechanisms, including gain-of-function mutations, loss of heterozygosity events and aneuploidy. The clinical isolate P60002 was found to be highly resistant to azole-class drugs, yet lacked mutations or chromosomal rearrangements known to be associated with azole resistance. Transcription profiling suggested that increased expression of two putative drug efflux pumps, CDR11 and QDR1, might confer azole resistance. However, ectopic expression of the P60002 alleles of these genes in a drug-susceptible strain did not increase fluconazole resistance. We next examined whether the presence of three copies of chromosome 4 (Chr4) or chromosome 6 (Chr6) contributed to azole resistance in P60002. We established that Chr4 trisomy contributes significantly to fluconazole resistance, whereas Chr6 trisomy has no discernible effect on resistance. In contrast, a Chr4 trisomy did not increase fluconazole resistance when present in the standard SC5314 strain background. These results establish a link between Chr4 trisomy and elevated fluconazole resistance, and demonstrate the impact of genetic background on drug resistance phenotypes in C. albicans.

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