p-Chloromercuriphenylsulfonic acid (PCMS), a sulfhydryl inhibitor, prevented the mycelial-to-yeast transition of the dimorphic fungal pathogen, Histoplasma capsulatum. The effect of PCMS was specific for the mycelial-to-yeast transformation; it had no effect on growth of either the yeast or mycelial forms or on the yeast-to-mycelial transition. The failure of PCMS-treated mycelia to transform to yeast was permanent and irreversible. PCMS-treated mycelia could not infect mice but could stimulate resistance to infection by a pathogenic strain of Histoplasma capsulatum. These results suggest a new general strategy for vaccine development in diseases caused by dimorphic pathogens.
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