Abstract Title

Discovery of Killer Yeast with Diverse Anti-fungal Properties

Additional Funding Sources

This research was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM104420.

Abstract

Discovery of Killer Yeast With Diverse Anti-fungal Properties

Josephine Boyer, Emily Kizer, Lance Fredericks, Courtney Kennedy, Dr. Paul Rowley (Mentor)

University of Idaho

Fungi are an important cause of human, animal and plant disease. Pathogens like Candida glabrata, which is one of the leading causes of nosocomial infections, are difficult to treat and often are resistant to many commercially available antifungal drugs. Many yeasts have the potential to produce antifungal compounds, called killer toxins. Our objective is to identify new killer toxins that could be used as novel therapeutics against important fungal pathogens. We have screened more than 400 yeast for the production of killer toxins, including a collection of 166 yeast isolated from coffee and cacao beans, and have identified more than 50 toxin producing yeast. Importantly, we have found a subset of killer toxins that are inhibitory to the pathogen Candida glabrata. We have extracted viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) from samples of the yeasts and have found an apparent relationship between the presence of this viral dsRNA and the ability of yeasts to produce killer toxins. Furthermore, we have observed heterogeneity in the molecular weight of dsRNAs in strains that produce killer toxins. In the future we plan to sequence toxins from the killer yeasts. This research was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM104420.

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Discovery of Killer Yeast with Diverse Anti-fungal Properties

Discovery of Killer Yeast With Diverse Anti-fungal Properties

Josephine Boyer, Emily Kizer, Lance Fredericks, Courtney Kennedy, Dr. Paul Rowley (Mentor)

University of Idaho

Fungi are an important cause of human, animal and plant disease. Pathogens like Candida glabrata, which is one of the leading causes of nosocomial infections, are difficult to treat and often are resistant to many commercially available antifungal drugs. Many yeasts have the potential to produce antifungal compounds, called killer toxins. Our objective is to identify new killer toxins that could be used as novel therapeutics against important fungal pathogens. We have screened more than 400 yeast for the production of killer toxins, including a collection of 166 yeast isolated from coffee and cacao beans, and have identified more than 50 toxin producing yeast. Importantly, we have found a subset of killer toxins that are inhibitory to the pathogen Candida glabrata. We have extracted viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) from samples of the yeasts and have found an apparent relationship between the presence of this viral dsRNA and the ability of yeasts to produce killer toxins. Furthermore, we have observed heterogeneity in the molecular weight of dsRNAs in strains that produce killer toxins. In the future we plan to sequence toxins from the killer yeasts. This research was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20GM104420.