Autonomously replicating linear plasmids that facilitate the analysis of replication origin function in Candida albicans

Swati Bijlani, Mathuravani A. Thevandavakkam, Hung Ji Tsai, Judith Berman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to generate autonomously replicating plasmids has been elusive in Candida albicans, a prevalent human fungal commensal and pathogen. Instead, plasmids generally integrate into the genome. Here, we assessed plasmid and transformant properties, including plasmid geometry, transformant colony size, four selectable markers, and potential origins of replication, for their ability to drive autonomous plasmid maintenance. Importantly, linear plasmids with terminal telomere repeats yielded many more autonomous transformants than circular plasmids with the identical sequences. Furthermore, we could distinguish (by colony size) transient, autonomously replicating, and chromosomally integrated transformants (tiny, medium, and large, respectively). Candida albicans URA3 and a heterologous marker, ARG4, yielded many transient transformants indicative of weak origin activity; the replication of the plasmid carrying the heterologous LEU2 marker was highly dependent upon the addition of a bona fide origin sequence. Several bona fide chromosomal origins, with an origin fragment of ~100 bp as well as a heterologous origin, panARS, from Kluyveromyces lactis, drove autonomous replication, yielding moderate transformation efficiency and plasmid stability. Thus, C. albicans maintains linear plasmids that yield high transformation efficiency and are maintained autonomously in an origin-dependent manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00103-19
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019


FundersFunder number
Seventh Framework Programme340087
European Research Council
Israel Science Foundation314/13


    • CaURA3
    • Linear plasmids
    • Replication
    • Replication origins
    • Telomere repeats


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