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Keywords:

  • Candida glabrata;
  • pathogenic fungus;
  • profilin;
  • antifungal drug target;
  • Tet promoter;
  • computer-aided ligand design

Abstract

The emergence of antifungal drug resistance is triggering vigorous searches for novel antifungal targets and lead compounds. In this study, we focused on fungal profilin, which is a small actin control protein sharing limited homology to human profilin. To validate its potentiality as a target, a profilin-conditional mutant of the pathogenic yeast Candida glabrata was constructed, using a regulatable Tet promoter, and its growth was monitored in vitro. Repression of profilin expression led to severe growth defect, demonstrating the potential of this protein as a novel antifungal target. Next, novel peptides binding to the active interface of profilin were designed by computer simulation. ELISA analysis showed that these peptides did bind to the wild-type profilin but bound less strongly to a profilin with amino acid substitutions at the active interface. Hence, we show here that profilin is a potential antifungal target and offer novel peptide ligands. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.