The SAT1 flipper, an optimized tool for gene disruption in Candida albicans

Gene. 2004 Oct 27;341:119-27. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2004.06.021.


The construction of Candida albicans mutants by targeted gene disruption usually depends on the use of nutritional markers for the selection of prototrophic transformants from auxotrophic host strains, but it is becoming increasingly evident that this strategy may cause difficulties in the interpretation of mutant phenotypes. Here, we describe a new method for inactivating both alleles of a target gene in C. albicans wild-type strains to obtain homozygous null mutants. The SAT1 flipping method relies on the use of a cassette that contains a dominant nourseothricin resistance marker (caSAT1) for the selection of integrative transformants and a C. albicans-adapted FLP gene that allows the subsequent excision of the cassette, which is flanked by FLP target sequences, from the genome. Two rounds of integration/excision generate homozygous mutants that differ from the wild-type parent strain only by the absence of the target gene, and reintegration of an intact gene copy for complementation of mutant phenotypes is performed in the same way. Transformants are obtained after only 1 day of growth on a selective medium, and integration into the target locus occurs with high specificity after adding homologous flanking sequences on both sides of the cassette. FLP-mediated excision of the SAT1 flipper cassette is achieved by simply growing the transformants for a few hours in medium without selective pressure, and nourseothricin-sensitive (NouS) derivatives can easily be identified by their slower growth on indicator plates containing a low concentration of nourseothricin. We demonstrate the use of the system by deleting the OPT1 gene, which encodes an oligopeptide transporter, in the C. albicans model strain SC5314. The null mutants became resistant to the toxic peptide KLLEth, and reintroduction of an intact OPT1 copy restored susceptibility. The SAT1 flipping method provides a highly efficient method for gene disruption in C. albicans wild-type strains, which eliminates currently encountered problems in the genetic analysis of this important human fungal pathogen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Candida albicans / genetics*
  • Candida albicans / growth & development
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases / genetics*
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Genotype
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional / methods
  • Mutation
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Genetic Markers
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • FLP recombinase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY524979
  • GENBANK/AY598824
  • GENBANK/AY598825