The sea pansy Renilla reniformis luciferase serves as a sensitive bioluminescent reporter for differential gene expression in Candida albicans

Thyagarajan Srikantha, Aimee Klapach, W. Walter Lorenz, Luong K. Tsai, Laura A. Laughlin, Jessica A. Gorman, David R. Soll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

127 Scopus citations


The infectious yeast Candida albicans progresses through two developmental programs which involve differential gene expression, the bud-hypha transition and high-frequency phenotypic switching. To understand how differentially expressed genes are regulated in this organism, the promoters of phase- specific genes must he functionally characterized, and a bioluminescent reporter system would facilitate such characterization. However, C. albicans has adopted a nontraditional codon strategy that involves a tRNA with a CAG anticodon to decode the codon CUG as serine rather than leucine. Since the luciferase gene of the sea pansy Renilla reniformis contains no CUGs, we have used it to develop a highly sensitive bioluminescent reporter system for C. albicans. When fused to the galactose-inducible promoter of GAL1, luciferase activity is inducible; when fused to the constitutive EF1α2 promoter, luciferase activity is constitutive; and when fused to the promoter of the white-phase-specific gene WH11 or the opaque-phase-specific gene OP4, luciferase activity is phase specific. The Renilla luciferase system can, therefore, be used as a bioluminescent reporter to analyze the strength and developmental regulation of C. albicans promoters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-129
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1996


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