1887

Abstract

Among species of the heterobasidiomycetous yeasts, is the only serious pathogen that causes fatal infections in both immunocompromised as well as immunocompetent patients. Three phenotypic characteristics, including growth at 37 °C, extracellular polysaccharide capsule and laccase activity, of are known to play major roles in the pathogenicity of the fungus. Several genes involved in polysaccharide capsule formation, as well as the gene encoding a laccase, have previously been cloned and characterized. To analyse the presence of these virulence factors in other heterobasidiomycetous yeasts, numerous species of heterobasidiomycetous yeasts were screened for the presence of laccase activity and a polysaccharide capsule. Species exhibiting laccase activity and possessing a glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) capsule were screened for homologues of both the gene and the gene of . Southern blots of genomic DNA from GXM capsule-producing species exhibited no discernible hybridization to the DNA sequence except for the two varieties of and . Although discernible, the hybridization band observed with the DNA of was faint. Oligonucleotide primers constructed using the gene sequence also failed to yield PCR products from DNAs of these yeasts except for the two varieties of . These results, coupled with the absence of a homologue in the database, suggested the gene to be unique to was the only species besides that possessed a capsule and expressed strong laccase activity on various media containing phenolic compounds. A homologue was isolated from while it was not detected in the species producing beige to faint tan colonies on media with phenolic compounds. Compared to the sequence of four serotypes of , the homologue of showed the highest homology to that of serotype B/C strains and the lowest homology to that of serotype A strains.

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2001-08-01
2019-10-19
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