ALS genes of Candida albicans encode a family of cell-surface glycoproteins that are composed of an N-terminal domain, a central domain of a tandemly repeated motif, and a relatively variable C-terminal domain. Although several ALS genes have been characterized, more ALS-like sequences are present in the C. albicans genome. Two short DNA sequences with similarity to the 5' domains of known ALS genes were detected among data from the C. albicans genome sequencing project. Probes developed from unique regions of these sequences were used to screen a genomic library from which two full-length genes, designated ALS6 and ALS7, were cloned. ALS6 and ALS7 encode features similar to other genes in the ALS family and map to chromosome 3, a chromosome previously not known to encode ALS sequences. ALS6 and ALS7 are present in all C. albicans strains examined. Additional analysis suggested that some C. albicans strains have another ALS gene with a 5' domain similar to that of ALS6. Characterization of ALS7 revealed a novel tandemly repeated sequence within the C-terminal domain. Unlike other ALS family tandem repeats, the newly characterized ALS7 repeat does not appear to define additional genes in the ALS family. However, our data and information from the C. albicans genome sequencing project suggest that there are additional ALS genes remaining to be characterized.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.