Pleiotropic drug resistance (PDR) is a well-described phenomenon occurring in fungi. PDR shares several similarities with processes in bacteria and higher eukaryotes. In mammalian cells, multidrug resistance (MDR) develops from an initial single drug resistance, eventually leading to a broad cross-resistance to many structurally and functionally unrelated compounds. Notably, a number of membrane-embedded energy-consuming ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters have been implicated in the development of PDR/MDR phenotypes. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome harbors some 30 genes encoding ABC proteins, several of which mediate PDR. Therefore, yeast served as an important model organism to study the functions of evolutionary conserved ABC genes, including those mediating clinical antifungal resistance in fungal pathogens. Moreover, yeast cells lacking endogenous ABC pumps are hypersensitive to many antifungal drugs, making them suitable for functional studies and cloning of ABC transporters from fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans. This review discusses drug resistance phenomena mediated by ABC transporters in the model system S. cerevisiae and certain fungal pathogens.
Keywords: Fungal ABC transporters, PDR network, drug resistance, stress, regulation