Ayana’s Abstract

Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungus that is most commonly responsible for the disease meningoencephalitis, an infection of the central nervous system, and is potentially fatal in immunocompromised individuals such as those with AIDS. In addition, research related to C. neoformans has concluded that melanin production allows the fungus to cause disease and that the transcription factor, BZP4, is associated with this phenotype. This data leads one to question whether BZP4 actually has an influence on the fungus’ ability to cause disease. In order to test this theory, a strain of C. neoformans H99 with BZP4 absent was restored with the BZP4 gene via biolistic transformation and used to inoculate a 30 mice along with the deletion strain and wild type and observed  for 42 days for virulence and fungal burden. By the end of the experiment, it is expected that the reconstituted strain and wild type will present the most cell counts in the mice on average compared to the deletion strain. These two strains may also be able to cause disease and kill the mice they infected. Based on previous data, one can predict that the transcription factor, BZP4, is crucial  for C. neoformans virulence.


*The data does not exist yet but will in a couple of weeks

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