The volume and hydration of the Cryptococcus neoformans polysaccharide capsule

Michelle E. Maxson, Emily Cook, Arturo Casadevall, Oscar Zaragoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We present a new method to measure capsule size in the human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans that avoids the limitations and biases inherent in India ink measurements. The method is based on the use of γ-radiation, which efficiently releases the capsule from the cell. By comparing the volume of irradiated and non-irradiated cells, one can accurately estimate the relative size of the capsule per cell. This method was also used to obtain an estimate of the capsule weight and water content. The C. neoformans capsule is a highly hydrated structure in all the conditions measured. However, after capsule enlargement, the amount of capsular polysaccharide significantly increases, suggesting a that capsule growth has a high energy cost for the cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-186
Number of pages7
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Capsule
  • Cryptococcus neoformans
  • Fungal pathogen
  • India ink
  • Virulence factor
  • γ-Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics


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