Navigation Links
Montana State University researchers find gene that regulates mold's resistance to drugs

BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Montana State University scientists concerned about lethal mold infections have found a gene that regulates the mold's resistance to drugs.

The gene, called srbA, allows molds to thrive during infections even when inflammation reduces its oxygen supply, said Robert Cramer, senior author of a paper published in the Nov. 7 issue of PLoS Pathogens. When the gene is removed, the mold becomes much more vulnerable to lack of oxygen and can no longer grow to cause disease.

The gene is found in humans and molds, but the researchers studied it in a common mold called Aspergillus fumigatus, said Cramer, assistant professor of fungal pathogenesis in MSU's Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology. A. fumigatus can invade the lungs and cause dangerous diseases, including Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis. Patients with a compromised immune system, especially organ transplant patients, are particularly at risk.

"The incidence of potentially lethal infections caused by normally benign molds has increased tremendously over the last two decades," the researchers wrote.

The scientists discovered the value of srbA after creating a mutant version of the fungus without the gene, Cramer said. Tests showed that the loss of srbA affected 87 genes in the fungus. Without the gene, the mutant could no longer grow when oxygen was limited, which occurs during mold infections. The mutant mold without srbA could no longer cause disease. It was also highly susceptible to antifungal drugs, more vulnerable than the original, complete mold.

Further study showed that srbA plays a critical role in the making of ergosterol, the fungal-form of cholesterol, Cramer said. The gene in humans is associated with the making of cholesterol. Ergosterol and cholesterol are necessary components of cell membranes.

"The reason we're interested is because ergosterol is a target for most of the antifungal drugs that are available," Cramer said. "These drugs target the synthesis of ergosterol. ... If you get rid of ergosterol, you kill the mold."

Sven Willger, a postdoctoral researcher in Cramer's lab and first author of the PLoS Pathogens paper, said the absence of srbA changed the way the mold cells grew. Instead of growing from the tip, they branched off from several other locations. The confusion became apparent under a transmission electron microscope.

The researchers said in their paper that they demonstrated for the first time that it is significant that invasive molds adapt to reduced oxygen levels during infection.


Contact: Evelyn Boswell
Montana State University

Related biology news :

1. International experts collect alpine fungi in Beartooth Mountains of Montana
2. Sweets make young horses harder to train in Montana State study
3. Montana State researchers release guide to noninvasive carnivore research
4. Bird watchers, space technology come together in Montana State University study
5. Dinosaur diggers bring mobile lab, new techniques to Eastern Montana
6. Montana State University researchers map iron transport protein
7. Montana State University research reaches Supreme Court of India
8. Montana State researchers study spread of lake trout in Glacier National Park
9. Low exposure to asbestos-like mineral from Montana vermiculite may up lung disease risk
10. Antarcticas coldest, darkest season draws Montana State University researchers
11. Mongolian paleontologists with a dream come to Montana State University
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... October 29, 2015 NXTD ... company focused on the growing mobile commerce market ... that StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover and ... Wocket® smart wallet on StackSocial for this holiday ... or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... today announced that Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ... controller solutions to power its newest flagship smartphones, the ... Huawei. --> --> ... Google to provide strategic collaboration in the joint development ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... DUBLIN , Oct. 23, 2015 Research ... of the "Global Voice Recognition Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... --> --> The global voice recognition ... during 2014-2019. --> ... 2015-2019, has been prepared based on an in-depth market ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... its business and prospects remain fundamentally strong and ... (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation to continue ... following review of the final interim efficacy and ... Primary Endpoint in men with heavily pretreated castration- ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Malaysia , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific ... contract research organisation (CRO) market. The trend of ... in lower margins but higher volume share for ... capacity and scale, however, margins in the CRO ... Organisation (CRO) Market ( ), finds ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Copper is an essential micronutrient that all ... copper is also toxic to cells. With a $1.3 million award from the ... a systematic study of copper in the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa), a ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... This fall, global ... competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ideas to improve ... each state are competing for votes to win the title of SAP's Teen Innovator, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: