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    A new gene holds great promise to halt fungal infection in immuno-compromised people

    A recently discovered gene may hold the key to halting the spread of Candidiasis fungus. Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU), those with cancer, and those undergoing immunosuppressive therapy are frequently affected by candidiasis.

    The CSA6 gene has been found in Candida albicans, a fungus notorious for producing high rates of morbidity and mortality over the course of cancer treatment or in immunosuppressed situations like AIDS.

    When an immune system is compromised, a fungus that normally lives in the mucosal linings of the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts of healthy people develops into a pathogen that compromises the host’s defences and can lead to both superficial infections and potentially fatal systemic infections.

    New study on Candidiasis Fungal Infection Prevention looks promising

    In a recent study conducted in collaboration with Christophe d’Enfert’s group at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France, and Professor Kaustuv Sanyal’s group at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore, India, authors carried out a large-scale screen to identify regulators of chromosome stability in C. albicans, a clinically relevant fungal model system.

    Individually examining the impact of overexpression of more than a thousand C. albicans genes on genome stability, the authors from JNCASR, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), were able to pinpoint a group of six chromosome stability (CSA) genes that are crucial for preserving genome integrity.

    The sixth CSA gene, designated CSA6, encoded for a protein that was crucial for the viability of C. albicans, whereas five of the CSA genes discovered in the study are known to be significant for cell division in other species. They discovered that Csa6 played a crucial role in controlling cell cycle progression, and that its overexpression or deletion resulted in a decrease in the development of C. albicans cells.

    The work, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, is the first to provide a thorough screen of C. albicans, a human fungal infection. It finds and clarifies the roles of a unique chromosomal stability regulator that is only seen in a subset of therapeutically significant human fungal infections.

    Additionally, it offers a methodical approach for locating genes whose by-products may be used to treat fungal infections by having fewer negative effects on people. Small molecule modulators that change the expression levels of the Csa6 gene therefore present prospective therapy options with no adverse effects in humans.

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