Whole Genome Sequencing of Australian Candida glabrata Isolates Reveals Genetic Diversity and Novel Sequence Types

Chayanika Biswas, Vanessa R. Marcelino, Sebastiaan Van Hal, Catriona Halliday, Elena Martinez, Qinning Wang, Sarah Kidd, Karina Kennedy, Deborah Marriott, C. Orla Morrissey, Ian Arthur, Kerry Weeks, Monica A. Slavin, Tania C. Sorrell, Vitali Sintchenko, Wieland Meyer, Sharon C.A. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Candida glabrata is a pathogen with reduced susceptibility to azoles and echinocandins. Analysis by traditional multilocus sequence typing (MLST) has recognized an increasing number of sequence types (STs), which vary with geography. Little is known about STs of C. glabrata in Australia. Here, we utilized whole genome sequencing (WGS) to study the genetic diversity of 51 Australian C. glabrata isolates and sought associations between STs over two time periods (2002–2004, 2010–2017), and with susceptibility to fluconazole by principal component analysis (PCA). Antifungal susceptibility was determined using Sensititre YeastOneTM Y010 methodology and WGS performed on the NextSeq 500 platform (Illumina) with in silico MLST STs inferred by WGS data. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes linked to echinocandin, azole and 5-fluorocytosine resistance were analyzed. Of 51 isolates, WGS identified 18 distinct STs including four novel STs (ST123, ST124, ST126, and ST127). Four STs accounted for 49% of isolates (ST3, 15.7%; ST83, 13.7%; ST7, 9.8%; ST26, 9.8%). Split-tree network analysis resolved isolates to terminal branches; many of these comprised multiple isolates from disparate geographic settings but four branches contained Australian isolates only. ST3 isolates were common in Europe, United States and now Australia, whilst ST8 and ST19, relatively frequent in the United States, were rare/absent amongst our isolates. There was no association between ST distribution (genomic similarity) and the two time periods or with fluconazole susceptibility. WGS identified mutations in the FKS1 (S629P) and FKS2 (S663P) genes in three, and one, echinocandin-resistant isolate(s), respectively. Both mutations confer phenotypic drug resistance. Twenty-five percent (13/51) of isolates were fluconazole-resistant (MIC ≥ 64 μg/ml) of which 9 (18%) had non wild-type MICs to voriconazole and posaconazole. Multiple SNPs were present in genes linked to azole resistance such as CgPDR1 and CgCDR1, as well as several in MSH2; however, SNPs occurred in both azole-susceptible and azole-resistant isolates. Although no particular SNP in these genes was definitively associated with resistance, azole-resistant/non-wild type isolates had a propensity to harbor SNPs resulting in amino acid substitutions in Pdr1 beyond the first 250 amino acid positions. The presence of SNPs may be markers of STs. Our study shows the value of WGS for high-resolution sequence typing of C. glabrata, discovery of novel STs and potential to monitor trends in genetic diversity. WGS assessment for echinocandin resistance augments phenotypic susceptibility testing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2946
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2018


  • Australia
  • Candida glabrata
  • MLST
  • sequence type
  • whole genome sequencing

Cite this