Investigation of the Expression Levels of Efflux Pumps in Fluconazole-Resistant Candida albicans Isolates

Gulat S., Doluca Dereli M.

MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI, vol.48, no.2, pp.325-334, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 48 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.5578/mb.7213
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.325-334
  • Keywords: Candida albicans, fluconazole resistance, efflux pumps, AZOLE ANTIFUNGAL AGENTS, INTENSIVE-CARE-UNIT, MOLECULAR MECHANISMS, INFECTIONS, MUTATIONS, GENES
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Widespread and repeated use of fluconazole in the prophylaxis and therapy resulted in resistance among Candida strains. Investigation of the expression of efflux pump encoding genes was aimed in fluconazole-resistant and -susceptible C.albicans isolates in order to determine the role of this mechanism in fluconazole resistance. Five fluconazole-resistant, six -susceptible and four trailing effect showing susceptible C.albicans isolates were included in the study. The MIC values of fluconazole and other antifungal agents were determined by the microdilution method. The fluconazole MIC values of the fluconazole-resistant strains were also studied by E-test performed on yeast extract peptone dextrose agar with and without cyclosporin A. The expression levels of CDR1, CDR2 and MDR1 transcripts were determined by real-time PCR method. The expression of these genes was normalized with their ACT1 levels and compared with the fluconazole-susceptible C.albicans ATCC 14053 strain. It was detected that all strains were susceptible to amphotericin B and all except one strain were also susceptible to clotrimazole. Three out of five fluconazole-resistant strains and three out of four trailing effect showing susceptible strains were resistant to 5-flucytosine, and all except one susceptible strains were found as intermediate to 5-flucytosine. All except one fluconazole-resistant strains were determined as resistant to itraconazole and ketoconazole, and had miconazole MIC values of 64 pg/ml. All fluconazole-susceptible isolates were detected to be susceptible to ketoconazole and dose dependent susceptible to itraconazole. Fluconazole-resistant and -susceptible strains were determined as susceptible to voriconazole. Out of five fluconazole-resistant isolates, two strains overexpressed high levels and three strains overexpressed mild levels of CDR1/2; one strain overexpressed high levels and three strains overexpressed low levels of MDR7 in comparison to C.albicans ATCC 14053 control strain. It was observed that CDR7, CDR2 and MDR7 gene expression levels were mild in strains showing trailing effect except one which highly expressed MDR1, while susceptible isolates except three expressed efflux pump genes at low levels. It was determined that the expression levels of CDR1 and CDR2 genes for the same strain were in parallel for all isolates. It can be concluded that overexpression of efflux pump genes is an important mechanism of resistance in fluconazole-resistant C.albicans isolates.