Rapid and extensive karyotype diversification in haploid clinical Candida auris isolates

Curr Genet. 2019 Oct;65(5):1217-1228. doi: 10.1007/s00294-019-00976-w. Epub 2019 Apr 24.


Candida auris is a newly emerged pathogenic microbe, having been identified as a medically relevant fungus as recently as 2009. It is one of the most drug-resistant yeast species known to date and its emergence and population structure are unusual. Because of its recent emergence, we are largely ignorant about fundamental aspects of its general biology, life cycle, and population dynamics. Here, we report the karyotype variability of 26 C. auris strains representing the four main clades. We demonstrate that all strains are haploid and have a highly plastic karyotype containing five to seven chromosomes, which can undergo marked alterations within a short time frame when the fungus is put under genotoxic, heat, or osmotic stress. No simple correlation was found between karyotype pattern, drug resistance, and clade affiliation indicating that karyotype heterogeneity is rapidly evolving. As with other Candida species, these marked karyotype differences between isolates are likely to have an important impact on pathogenic traits of C. auris.

Keywords: Candida auris; Chromosome number; Chromosome size; Genome size; Karyotype evolution.

MeSH terms

  • Candida / genetics*
  • Candidiasis / microbiology
  • Cell Cycle
  • Chromosomes, Fungal
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Genome, Fungal
  • Haploidy*
  • Karyotype*
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics