In the last decades, the incidence of fungal infections has increased, mainly due to the increased number of immunocompromised patients, and dermatophytosis are one of the most common fungal infections, affecting both immunocompromised as healthy individuals. The dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum is the most frequent clinical isolate in cases humans skin and nail infections. Despite the clinical importance of T. rurbum, mainly because of its high incidence, little is known about the pathogenesis of this kind of infection. The genome sequencing of T. rubrum and other dermatophytes revealed a high degree of similarity among these organisms, with a small number of specific genes of each species, although each of these is adapted to a particular host. This niche specificity may be related to different regulation of the expression of virulence factors between different species, which can be played by noncoding RNAs. This class of RNAs do not encode proteins, but increasingly number of evidence has been shown that these molecules play important roles in the cell. The aim of this project is to identify and annotate ncRNAs in T. rubrum and other dermatophytes' genome, aiming to verify if the molecular mechanisms involved in pathogenicity and niche specificity of the anthropophilic specie T. rubrum, would be regulated by ncRNAs. Furthermore, it is being proposed to map the transcription start sites of T. rubrum genes. The results to be obtained will contribute to the understanding of gene regulation in this organism, and may reveal unknown mechanisms of genetic regulation of virulence factors, new genetic elements, as well as increase the accuracy of available annotation. This information contributes to the understanding of the physiopathology of dermatophytosis and may indirectly contribute to the development of new therapeutic strategies, or reveal new molecular targets for the development of new antifungal drugs.
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