Title of Abstract: Bioinformatical assessment of loss of heterozygosity events in C. albicans filamentous growth mutants
Name of Mentor: Anja Forche
Mentor’s Organization or Department: Department of Biology, Bowdoin College
Research Abstract: The yeast Candida albicans can transition from a harmless commensal to a life-threatening pathogen. Genome plasticity plays an important role in adaptation to stress, thus giving rise to genomic changes, such as loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Genetic changes also result in the alteration of virulence-associated traits, including hyphal formation. To identify changes that underlie abnormal hyphal formation, strains that acquired increased hyphal formation after in vivo infection were sequenced, and the data were analyzed for LOH and compared to a reference control. The Integrative Genomics Viewer (IGV) was utilized to manually confirm LOH events in the processed data. For loci with confirmed LOH, the Candida Genome Database was used to determine if LOH events occurred within open reading frames or in intergenic regions. This work provides an important framework for future experiments to confirm genes already known to play roles in hyphal formation and to identify novel genes as well.