Jennifer Tenor, PhD, John Perfect, PhD
Emily Prudot Gonzalez
Department of Medicine
Cryptococcus, a fungal pathogen, can be inhaled through pigeon excretes and multiple trees, which leads to the life threatening disease, cryptococcal meningitis. The growing emergence of cryptococcal anti-fungal resistance has made it difficult for clinics to treat cryptococcal meningitis, especially with limited antifungals. In deleting genes and growing them in conditions with increasing concentrations of the anti-fungal, fluconazole, we were able to target the deletion strains with fluconazole sensitivity and fluconazole resistance. The deletion strains were then defined along with their cellular or functional processes through the gene ontology, FungiDB. This allowed us to observe a measurable amount of membrane-related deletion strains and hypothetical proteins in both fluconazole resistant and sensitive phenotypes. Mitochondria-related deletions strains also have a considerably high concentration in the fluconazole resistant phenotype. These findings allow us to investigate the possible defense mechanisms within the mitochondria when met with high concentrations of fluconazole as well as create a starting point in researching the role of hypothetical proteins in the cell. Further down the line, the hopes are to use these learned mechanisms to develop a drug target and treat cryptococcal meningitis.