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Generation of A Mucor circinelloides Reporter Strain—A Promising New Tool to Study Antifungal Drug Efficacy and Mucormycosis

Division of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, Medical University Innsbruck, Schöpfstrasse 41, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Departamento de Genética y Microbiología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain
Division of Molecular Biology, Biocenter, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innrain 80-82, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Institute of Pathology, Neuropathology and Molecular Pathology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Müllerstraße 44, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2018, 9(12), 613;
Received: 5 November 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogenesis in Humans: The Growing Threat)
PDF [2637 KB, uploaded 14 December 2018]


Invasive fungal infections caused by Mucorales (mucormycosis) have increased worldwide. These life-threatening infections affect mainly, but not exclusively, immunocompromised patients, and are characterized by rapid progression, severe tissue damage and an unacceptably high rate of mortality. Still, little is known about this disease and its successful therapy. New tools to understand mucormycosis and a screening method for novel antimycotics are required. Bioluminescent imaging is a powerful tool for in vitro and in vivo approaches. Hence, the objective of this work was to generate and functionally analyze bioluminescent reporter strains of Mucor circinelloides, one mucormycosis-causing pathogen. Reporter strains were constructed by targeted integration of the firefly luciferase gene under control of the M. circinelloides promoter Pzrt1. The luciferase gene was sufficiently expressed, and light emission was detected under several conditions. Phenotypic characteristics, virulence potential and antifungal susceptibility were indifferent to the wild-type strains. Light intensity was dependent on growth conditions and biomass, being suitable to determine antifungal efficacy in vitro. This work describes for the first time the generation of reporter strains in a basal fungus that will allow real-time, non-invasive infection monitoring in insect and murine models, and the testing of antifungal efficacy by means other than survival. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mucor circinelloides; mucormycosis; firefly luciferase; reporter strain; bioluminescence Mucor circinelloides; mucormycosis; firefly luciferase; reporter strain; bioluminescence

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Binder, U.; Navarro-Mendoza, M.I.; Naschberger, V.; Bauer, I.; Nicolas, F.E.; Pallua, J.D.; Lass-Flörl, C.; Garre, V. Generation of A Mucor circinelloides Reporter Strain—A Promising New Tool to Study Antifungal Drug Efficacy and Mucormycosis. Genes 2018, 9, 613.

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