In the last decades there was an increase in the incidence of fungal infections, caused by the high number of immunocompromised patients, leading to a necessity of understanding the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of these infections. The definition of the global gene expression and characterization of the molecules required for fungal nutrient acquisition and stress response caused by the host defense mechanisms allows a better knowledge about the strategies used by the pathogens during infection. Transcription analyses of the pathogenic fungus Trichophyton rubrum, a dermatophyte highly prevalent in clinical cases of human nail and skin infections, performed by our research group, allowed the identification of several genes involved in its interaction with host cells and molecules, and in response to cytotoxic agents. The proposal of this project is to continue these experiments, evaluating the functional role of genes potentially involved with this dermatophyte pathogenicity by post transcriptional silencing RNA (interference RNA) or gene disruption by homologous recombination. The functional characterization of these genes and their role during infection of skin and nail will provide a better comprehension about the molecular traits used by T. rubrum during infection of the host, and may also reveal novel cellular targets for the development of new antifungal drugs.
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