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Targeted Gene Deletion and In Vivo Analysis of Putative Virulence Gene Function in the Pathogenic Dermatophyte Arthroderma benhamiae.

By M. Grumbt, V. Defaweux, B. Mignon, M. Monod, A. Burmester, J. Wöstemeyer and P. Staib


Dermatophytes cause the majority of superficial mycoses in humans and animals. However, little is known about the pathogenicity of this specialized group of filamentous fungi, for which molecular research has been limited thus far. During experimental infection of guinea pigs by the human pathogenic dermatophyte Arthroderma benhamiae, we recently detected the activation of the fungal gene encoding malate synthase AcuE, a key enzyme of the glyoxylate cycle. By the establishment of the first genetic system for A. benhamiae, specific ΔacuE mutants were constructed in a wild-type strain and, in addition, in a derivative in which we inactivated the nonhomologous end-joining pathway by deletion of the A. benhamiae KU70 gene. The absence of AbenKU70 resulted in an increased frequency of the targeted insertion of linear DNA by homologous recombination, without notably altering the monitored in vitro growth abilities of the fungus or its virulence in a guinea pig infection model. Phenotypic analyses of ΔacuE mutants and complemented strains depicted that malate synthase is required for the growth of A. benhamiae on lipids, major constituents of the skin. However, mutant analysis did not reveal a pathogenic role of the A. benhamiae enzyme in guinea pig dermatophytosis or during epidermal invasion of the fungus in an in vitro model of reconstituted human epidermis. The presented efficient system for targeted genetic manipulation in A. benhamiae, paired with the analyzed infection models, will advance the functional characterization of putative virulence determinants in medically important dermatophytes

Publisher: 'American Society for Microbiology'
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1128/EC.00273-10
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