Azoles are currently the most widely used class of antifungal drugs clinically, and are effective for treating fungal infections. Target site of azoles is ergosterol biosynthesis in fungal cell membrane, which is absent in the mammalian host. However, the development of resistance to azole treatments in the fungal pathogen has become a significant challenge. Here, we report the identification and functional characterization of a UPC2 homolog in the human pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. UPC2 plays roles in ergosterol biosynthesis, which is also affected by the availability of iron in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans. C. neoformans mutants lacking UPC2 were constructed, and a number of phenotypic characteristics, including antifungal susceptibility and iron utilization, were analyzed. No differences were found between the mutant phenotypes and wild type, suggesting that the role of C. neoformans UPC2 homolog may be different from those in S. cerevisiae and C. albicans, and that the gene may have a yet unknown function.
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