System for expression of microsporidian methionine amino peptidase type 2 (MetAP2) in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Rajendra Upadhya, Hong Shan Zhang, Louis M. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Microsporidia are parasitic protists of all classes of vertebrates and most invertebrates. They recently emerged as important infections in various immunosuppressed and immunocompetent patient populations. They are also important veterinary and agricultural pathogens. Current therapies for microsporidiosis include benzimidazoles, which bind tubulin-inhibiting microtubule assembly, and fumagillin and its derivatives, which bind and inhibit methionine amino peptidase type 2 (MetAP2). Benzimidazoles are not active against Enterocytozoon bieneusi, the most common cause of human microsporidiosis. Fumagillin is active against most microsporidia, including E. bieneusi, but thrombocytopenia has been a problem in clinical trials. There is a pressing need for more-specific microsporidian MetAP2 inhibitors. To expedite and facilitate the discovery of safe and effective MetAP2 inhibitors, we have engineered Saccharomyces cerevisiae to be dependent on Encephalitozoon cuniculi MetAP2 (EcMetAP2) for its growth, where EcMetAP2 is harbored on an episomal uracil-selectable tetracycline-regulated plasmid. We have also constructed a leucine-selectable tetracycline-regulated expression plasmid into which any MetAP2 gene can be cloned. By utilizing a 5-fluoroorotic acid-mediated plasmid shuffle in the EcMetAP2 yeast strain, a yeast strain can be generated whose growth is dependent on MetAP2 from any organism. The level of heterologous MetAP2 gene expression can be controlled by the addition of tetracycline to the growth medium. These yeast strains should permit high-throughput screening for the identification of new inhibitors with high specificity and activity toward microsporidian MetAP2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3389-3395
Number of pages7
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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