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Molecular Biology

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2019

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The Essential Role Of Carbon Metabolism In The Virulence Of Cryptococcus Neoformans, Mara Weigner Oct 2019

The Essential Role Of Carbon Metabolism In The Virulence Of Cryptococcus Neoformans, Mara Weigner

Senior Honors Theses

Cryptococcus neoformans infections are a major cause of meningoencephalitis in immunosuppressed patients worldwide. Inhaled as spores or desiccated yeast cells, C. neoformans can undergo metabolic changes in response to the new host environment that allow it to cross the blood brain barrier and cause deadly central nervous system (CNS) infections. Nutrient acquisition, and specifically carbon metabolism, is critical for survival and proliferation within the host. Notably, efficient carbon metabolism is necessary to produce the polysaccharide capsule, which is arguably C. neoformans’ most important and well-studied virulence factor. As such, a better understanding of carbon acquisition and regulation is essential for …