Budding off: bringing functional genomics to Candida albicans

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Abstract

Candida species are the most prevalent human fungal pathogens, with Candida albicans being the most clinically relevant species. Candida albicans resides as a commensal of the human gastrointestinal tract but is a frequent cause of opportunistic mucosal and systemic infections. Investigation of C. albicans virulence has traditionally relied on candidate gene approaches, but recent advances in functional genomics have now facilitated global, unbiased studies of gene function. Such studies include comparative genomics (both between and within Candida species), analysis of total RNA expression, and regulation and delineation of protein–DNA interactions. Additionally, large collections of mutant strains have begun to aid systematic screening of clinically relevant phenotypes. Here, we will highlight the development of functional genomics in C. albicans and discuss the use of these approaches to addressing both commensalism and pathogenesis in this species.

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