Adaptation to fluconazole via aneuploidy enables cross- adaptation to amphotericin b and flucytosine in cryptococcus neoformans

Feng Yang, Vladimir Gritsenko, Hui Lu, Cheng Zhen, Lu Gao, Judith Berman, Yuan Ying Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The high morbidity and mortality of cryptococcal meningitis is due to the limited range of therapeutic options: Only three classes of antifungal drugs are available (polyenes [amphotericin B], azoles [fluconazole], and pyrimidine analogues [flucytosine]). Fluconazole is the most widely used antifungal drug in sub-Saharan Africa, where cryptococcal meningitis is a major cause of death in patients infected with HIV. In this study, we found that exposure to fluconazole, even for short times (48 h) at subinhibitory concentrations, drove rapid adaptation of Cryptococcus neoformans serotype A strain H99 via the acquisition of different aneuploid chromosomes. These aneuploidies conferred heteroresistance to fluconazole. Importantly, most of the adaptors were cross-tolerant to flucytosine. Some of the aneuploid adaptors were not heteroresistant to fluconazole but were tolerant to amphotericin B. Thus, exposure to one antifungal drug class can promote adaptation to two antifungal drug classes, highlighting the plasticity of the C. neoformans genome and raising concerns about the rapid reduction in the range of treatment options for cryptococcal infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00723-21
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Amphotericin B
  • Aneuploidy
  • Cross-adaptation
  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • Fluconazole
  • Flucytosine

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