Navigation Links
U of M researchers discover genetic key to treating deadly fungal infections

University of Minnesota researchers have discovered how a prevalent fungal pathogen that causes 10,000 deaths per year in the United States overcomes the effects of antifungal drugs by duplicating a section of one of its chromosomes.

Candida albicans, a type of yeast present in 80 percent of humans, is usually harmless. In otherwise healthy people, it can cause mild oral and vaginal infections (candiasis or thrush) that are easily treated. But in people whose immune systems are suppressed (by AIDS, chemotherapy, or drugs for surgery or organ transplantation) it can produce deadly, systemic infections, causing death in 30 to 50 percent of cases. Premature babies, whose immune systems are immature, are also at risk.

Led by Judith Berman, professor of genetics, cell biology and development, university researchers have discovered that C. albicans can neutralize an antifungal drug by modifying one of its own chromosomes. The cell duplicates one arm of chromosome 5 and deletes the other, replacing it with the duplicate arm. The altered chromosome is known as an "isochromosome." The effect of the duplication is to help the cell tolerate the antifungal drug, thus allowing the yeast to continue growing despite the presence of the drug.

The discovery, which is reported in the July 21 issue of Science, could lead to strategies for making currently available antifungal drugs more effective.

"This creates important clinical opportunities," said Berman. "The next step is to find a companion drug to block the formation of isochromosomes during antifungal treatment."

Berman also explained that some cancerous tumors contain isochromosomes, which means that the finding may yield clues about how some tumors become resistant to chemotherapy and how researchers can develop companion drugs that inhibit the development of that resistance.

About 25,000 Americans develop these fungal infections each year. And in spite of treatm ent with antifungal drugs, 10,000 die. The number of hospital-acquired C. albicans infections is increasing. There are few drugs available to treat it and the fungus often becomes resistant to a drug, making it ineffective. The cost to the U.S. health care industry is $1 billion per year.

Berman explained that drugs that are toxic to fungi are often toxic to humans. Thus, anti-fungal drugs are usually intended to suppress, rather than kill, C. albicans. This suppression encourages the organism to evolve resistance to the drug in order to survive.


Source:University of Minnesota

Related biology news :

1. NYU researchers simulate molecular biological clock
2. Vital step in cellular migration described by UCSD medical researchers
3. ASU researchers finds novel chemistry at work to provide parrots vibrant red colors
4. UCSD researchers maintain stem cells without contaminated animal feeder layers
5. Why do insects stop breathing? To avoid damage from too much oxygen, say researchers
6. New protein discovered by Hebrew University researchers
7. First real-time view of developing neurons reveals surprises, say Stanford researchers
8. Agilent Technologies releases automated literature search tool for biology researchers
9. Self-assembled nano-sized probes allow Penn researchers to see tumors through flesh and skin
10. Yale researchers identify molecule for detecting parasitic infection in humans
11. US life expectancy about to decline, researchers say
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/2/2015)... 2, 2015  SRI International has been awarded a ... development services to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT ... scientific expertise, modern testing and support facilities, and analytical ... and toxicology studies to evaluate potential cancer prevention drugs. ... PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported pipeline ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Mich. , Oct. 29, 2015  Rubicon ... Genomics for U.S. distribution of its DNA library ... kit and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX ... enable the preparation of NGS libraries for liquid ... for diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer and ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 In the present ... of concern for various industry verticals such as banking, ... to the growing demand for secure & simplified access ... ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, misuse of ... equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are expected ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... BOCA RATON, Florida and MAGDEBURG, Germany ... European Congress of NeuroRehabilitation (ECNR) in Vienna, ... --> 3rd European Congress of NeuroRehabilitation (ECNR) in ... 1-4, 2015. --> NovaVision, a wholly owned subsidiary ... launching the European version of its Internet-delivered NovaVision Therapy Suite ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... Kingdom , Nov. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/--  Mallinckrodt plc ... company, announced today that it has closed the sale ... business to Guerbet (GBT- NYSE Euronext) in a transaction ... encompassed four manufacturing facilities and a total of approximately ... in the St. Louis area. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 --> ... - 2020 report analyzes that automating biobanking workflow ... in long-term samples, minimizing manual errors, improving the ... manual errors such as mislabeling or inaccurate sample ... plays a vital role in blood fractionation, DNA ...
(Date:11/25/2015)...  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBIX ) announced ... of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be presenting at the 27th ... York . .   ... minutes prior to the presentation to download or install ... be available on the website approximately one hour after ...
Breaking Biology Technology: