Formation of new chromosomes as a virulence mechanism in yeast Candida glabrata

S. Poláková, C. Blume, J. A. Zárate, M. Mentel, Dorte Jørck-Ramberg, J. Stenderup, Jure Piskur

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    In eukaryotes, the number and rough organization of chromosomes is well preserved within isolates of the same species. Novel chromosomes and loss of chromosomes are infrequent and usually associated with pathological events. Here, we analyzed 40 pathogenic isolates of a haploid and asexual yeast, Candida glabrata, for their genome structure and stability. This organism has recently become the second most prevalent yeast pathogen in humans. Although the gene sequences were well conserved among different strains, their chromosome structures differed drastically. The most frequent events reshaping chromosomes were translocations of chromosomal arms. However, also larger segmental duplications were frequent and occasionally we observed novel chromosomes. Apparently, this yeast can generate a new chromosome by duplication of chromosome segments carrying a centromere and subsequently adding novel telomeric ends. We show that the observed genome plasticity is connected with antifungal drug resistance and it is likely an advantage in the human body, where environmental conditions fluctuate a lot.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America
    Volume106
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)2688-2693
    ISSN0027-8424
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

    Keywords

    • genome stability
    • segmental duplications
    • pathogenicity
    • chromosome rearrangements
    • evolution

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