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Transcriptional Profile of the Dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum in Response to the Inhibitor Agent Acriflavine

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Gabriela Felix Persinoti
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Ribeirão Preto.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Nilce Maria Martinez Rossi; Suely Lopes Gomes; Carla Columbano de Oliveira; Wilson Araújo da Silva Junior; Zila Luz Paulino Simoes
Advisor: Nilce Maria Martinez Rossi; Ricardo Zorzetto Nicoliello Vencio

The dermatophyte Trichophyton rubrum is an anthropophilic filamentous fungus that infects keratinized tissues and is the most common etiologic agent isolated in cases of human dermatophytoses. Recently, it has become the cause of deep and widespread infections in immunocompromised patients. Therapeutic strategies to control these infections have several limitations, such as the appearence of resistant strains and the limited number of antifungal cellular targets. New therapeutic strategies are necessary, being the focus of many investigations. Acriflavine is a cytotoxic drug with antifungal activity involved in topoisomerase inhibition. Although it presents DNA intercalating properties, it has already been reported the over-expression of genes coding for enzymes involved in mitochondrial respiratory-electron transport and in iron transport in response to this drug, suggesting a broad spectra of cellular effects. In order to better understand its molecular effects we evaluated T. rubrum transcriptome in response to acriflavine in a time-course assay using the next generation sequencing technology SOLiD System. RNA-seq was performed comparing T. rubrum growth in Sabouraud medium as the control and the three periods of drug exposure, 3h, 12h, and 24h. RNA-seq generated approximately 200 million short reads that were mapped to the Broad Institutes Dermatophyte Comparative Database using Bowtie and TopHat algoritms. Differential gene expression analysis was performed using Cufflinks and Cuffdiff. It was identified 3,153 differentially expressed genes. A more stringent cut-off threshold was established and this analysis revealed a subset of 490 genes modulated in response to the stress caused by exposure of T. rubrum to acriflavine. These genes are involved in various cellular processes such as oxidation-reduction reactions, transmembrane transport, metal ion binding, and pathogenicity. The genes involved in pathogenicity were down-regulated, suggesting that this drug interferes with virulence factors that allow the development of infection and persistence of the dermatophyte in the host. Other virulence factors such as genes involved in the glyoxylate cycle were also repressed by the drug. Moreover, genes involved in ergosterol biosynthesis pathway were down-regulated by the drug and may constitute a new mechanism of action of acriflavine. The results obtained in this large scale analysis provide insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying the responses of T. rubrum to stress conditions and may aid the development of new antifungal drugs. Furthermore, these results contribute to improve gene annotation and open reading frame prediction for T. rubrum and other dermatophyte genomes and transcriptomes. (AU)