2018 USAFA iGEM PROJECT DESCRIPTION
Candida albicans is a fungi that has the potential to cause life-threatening systemic infections. C. albicans undergoes a relatively unique white-to-opaque switch in response to environmental ques. After this switch occurs, C. albicans becomes more virulent as it can then better adhere to and penetrate the infected tissue. The gene WOR1 controls the white-to-opaque transition of C. albicans. Studies have shown that the 5’ UTR of the WOR1 gene controls the expression Wor1 and therefore the white-to-opaque switch. The particular factors involved in enabling this transition are currently unknown, but it has been proposed that RNA-binding proteins are involved. This year, the USAFA iGEM team attempted to discover what environmental factors prompt the 5’ UTR of WOR1 to regulate Wor1’s expression while transforming a plasmid array in to Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The model yeast was designed to activate a reporter under certain environmental conditions that would be conducive to promote the activation of the WOR1 gene.