Antifungals: understanding mode of action and resistance Food spoilage and human infection due to growth of fungi are serious global problems. Furthermore, the problems are exacerbated by increasing resistance to the few antifungal compounds currently available. Thus, there is a need to develop novel approaches to target these organisms. We are studying two different groups of antifungal compounds; organic acid preservatives, which are used in manufactured foods and beverages to prevent yeast spoilage; and, antifungal peptides, for example, ranalexin and dermaseptin, which are produced as part of the innate immune system of amphibian skin. In the lab, we are using modern functional genomics techniques, including proteomics, DNA microarrays and a library of deletion strains representing the entire yeast genome to obtain fundamental understanding of, the mode of action of the above compounds, and inducible mechanisms of resistance. More specifically, we are aiming to identify changes in global gene/protein expression occurring in response to exposure to these compounds and subsequently identify the role these genes play in either the mode of action or conferring resistance. We are also attempting to characterise which regulatory and signalling proteins detect, transmit and alter gene expression in response to exposure to these compounds.
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