University of Wisconsin, Madison
Switching Between Mold and Yeast to Cause Infection in the Lungs
Worldwide, dimorphic fungi (fungi that have two different forms) are the most common cause of invasive fungal infection. These fungi grow as mold in soil and produce infectious particles called spores. When the soil is disrupted, spores enter the air and can be inhaled into the lungs. Once inside humans' warmer lungs, the spores convert into round, budding yeast to cause pneumonia. Dr. Gauthier and team will examine how these fungi sense temperature and convert between mold and yeast forms, allowing these organisms to cause human infection. He will attempt to uncover the genes that regulate the switch between mold and yeast in the fungi. The results have the potential to help identify novel antifungal drug targets and drugs which are desperately needed.