The basidiomycete yeast Crytococcus neoformans is a prominent human pathogen. It primarily infects immunocompromised individuals producing a meningoencephalitis that is lethal if untreated. Recent advances in its genetics and molecular biology have made it a model system for understanding both the Basidiomycota phylum and mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis. The relative ease of experimental manipulation coupled with the development of murine models for human disease allow for powerful studies in the mechanisms of virulence and host responses. This chapter introduces the organism and its life cycle and then provides detailed step-by-step protocols for culture, manipulation of the genome, analysis of nucleic acids and proteins, and assessment of virulence and expression of virulence factors.
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