Cryptococcosis is a major threat to immunocompromised individuals. Isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii and var. neoformans are responsible for most of the infections in the United States and Europe. In depth analysis of the virulence phenotype of this organism requires the generation of specific gene disruptions. The minimum sequence requirements for efficient homologous recombination has not been determined in Cryptococcus. To investigate the flanking DNA length requirements for efficient homologous recombination in variety grubii, the rates of homologous recombination of constructs with different lengths of flanking sequence at two loci, CAP59 and CNLAC1, were examined. Five gene disruption constructs were prepared for each locus with symmetric lengths of sequence homologous to the target gene with approximately 50, 100, 200, 300 or 400bp flanking the selectable marker for hygromycin resistance. In addition, two asymmetric constructs with 50bp on one side and 400bp on the other side were generated for each locus. Overall, symmetric constructs with 300bp or more of flanking sequence on each side and the asymmetric constructs were efficiently targeted for gene disruption by homologous recombination in C. neoformans var. grubii. With one exception, the rate of recovery of homologous recombinants using the longer or asymmetric constructs as targeting vectors was greater than five percent of total transformants. Symmetrical constructs with 100bp or less of homologous flanking sequence did not efficiently generate targeted gene disruptions because the rate of homologous recombinants was less than or equal to 1%.
- Gene disruption