Genomic Approaches to Unravel the Molecular Mechanisms of Pathogenicity in the Human Fungal Pathogen Candida glabrata - FunPath

Historically, Candida glabrata has been considered a relatively nonpathogenic saprophyte of the normal flora of healthy individuals. Due to an increased use of immunosuppressive therapy the frequency of mucosal and systemic infections caused by C. glabrata has increased significantly. C. glabrata infections are difficult to treat and are often resistant to many azole antifungal agents. Therefore, C. glabrata infections have a high mortality rate in compromised, at-risk hospitalized patients.

The goal of our groups work is to identify the molecular mechanisms required for the fungus to infect the host. To identify the genes responsible for virulence we employ a genome wide gene deletion approach focusing in a first step on signaling pathways required for sensing the environment. The combination of in vitro and in vivo assays will help to characterize the deletion strains and by that evaluate the effect of each gene for virulence.

Genes with a central function for infection are perfect targets for developing antifungal agents and diagnostics. The results form this project will help to improve the treatment and diagnostics of patients endangered by mycoses.