Looking for a Few Good Mutants

Science  23 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5427, pp. 539-541
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5427.539

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Certain fungi, such as the yeast species Candida albicans and Candida glabrata, are important pathogens of humans. Identifying the genes in medically important fungi that help the pathogens infect human cells has proved difficult. In a Perspective, Goldman discusses the synthesis of two genetic strategies that have yielded the identity of a virulence gene in C. glabrata called EPA1, as reported by Cormack et al. in this issue. This gene encodes an adhesin that enables the yeast to bind to human epithelial cells. The genetic strategy should be valuable for identifying virulence genes in other pathogenic fungi.