Evidence-based Annotation Revision to Genes Involved in the Virulence Factor Melanin Production in Fungal Pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans

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Mohammed, Alaa
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University Honors College Middle Tennessee State University
Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungal pathogen that causes infection in immunosuppressed individuals. Melanin, a charged pigment polymer, is one of many contributing factors to the virulence of C. neoformans. Nine genes have been implicated in melanin production in C. neoformans. The goal of this study was to validate and/or improve computationally-predicted gene models for seven of these genes through the evaluation of transcriptome evidence. Improvements to gene models were curated in a collaborative annotation space and the data used to create refined super-transcript gene models included aspects of gene regulation, such as alternative transcription starts, alternative splicing, and alternative transcription termination. Computational gene models were validated for four genes (LAC2, PKA, CLC1, and VAD1) and computational models were improved for three genes (LAC1, CHK1, and AGC/PKA). This study, therefore, has produced a more accurate resource for the Cryptococcus community studying virulence factors.
College of Basic and Applied Sciences, Cryptococcus neoformans, Genes, Annotation, Melanin, virulence