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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Candida albicans colonization and dissemination from the murine gastrointestinal tract: the influence of morphology and Th17 immunity.
Cell. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 10-21-2014
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The ability of Candida albicans to cause disease is associated with its capacity to undergo morphological transition between yeast and filamentous forms, but the role of morphology in colonisation and dissemination from the gastrointestinal (GI) tract remains poorly defined. To explore this, we made use of wild type and morphological mutants of C. albicans in an established model of GI tract colonization, induced following antibiotic-treatment of mice. Our data reveal that GI tract colonization favours the yeast form of C.?albicans, that there is constitutive low level systemic dissemination in colonized mice that occurs irrespective of fungal morphology, and that colonization is not controlled by Th17 immunity in otherwise immunocompetent animals. These data provide new insights into the mechanisms of pathogenesis and commensalism of C. albicans, and have implications for our understanding of human disease.
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Metabolism in Fungal Pathogenesis.
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med
PUBLISHED: 09-04-2014
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Fungal pathogens must assimilate local nutrients to establish an infection in their mammalian host. We focus on carbon, nitrogen, and micronutrient assimilation mechanisms, discussing how these influence host-fungus interactions during infection. We highlight several emerging trends based on the available data. First, the perturbation of carbon, nitrogen, or micronutrient assimilation attenuates fungal pathogenicity. Second, the contrasting evolutionary pressures exerted on facultative versus obligatory pathogens have led to contemporary pathogenic fungal species that display differing degrees of metabolic flexibility. The evolutionarily ancient metabolic pathways are conserved in most fungal pathogen, but interesting gaps exist in some species (e.g., Candida glabrata). Third, metabolic flexibility is generally essential for fungal pathogenicity, and in particular, for the adaptation to contrasting host microenvironments such as the gastrointestinal tract, mucosal surfaces, bloodstream, and internal organs. Fourth, this metabolic flexibility relies on complex regulatory networks, some of which are conserved across lineages, whereas others have undergone significant evolutionary rewiring. Fifth, metabolic adaptation affects fungal susceptibility to antifungal drugs and also presents exciting opportunities for the development of novel therapies.
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Stress adaptation in a pathogenic fungus.
J. Exp. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 08-29-2014
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Candida albicans is a major fungal pathogen of humans. This yeast is carried by many individuals as a harmless commensal, but when immune defences are perturbed it causes mucosal infections (thrush). Additionally, when the immune system becomes severely compromised, C. albicans often causes life-threatening systemic infections. A battery of virulence factors and fitness attributes promote the pathogenicity of C. albicans. Fitness attributes include robust responses to local environmental stresses, the inactivation of which attenuates virulence. Stress signalling pathways in C. albicans include evolutionarily conserved modules. However, there has been rewiring of some stress regulatory circuitry such that the roles of a number of regulators in C. albicans have diverged relative to the benign model yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. This reflects the specific evolution of C. albicans as an opportunistic pathogen obligately associated with warm-blooded animals, compared with other yeasts that are found across diverse environmental niches. Our understanding of C. albicans stress signalling is based primarily on the in vitro responses of glucose-grown cells to individual stresses. However, in vivo this pathogen occupies complex and dynamic host niches characterised by alternative carbon sources and simultaneous exposure to combinations of stresses (rather than individual stresses). It has become apparent that changes in carbon source strongly influence stress resistance, and that some combinatorial stresses exert non-additive effects upon C. albicans. These effects, which are relevant to fungus-host interactions during disease progression, are mediated by multiple mechanisms that include signalling and chemical crosstalk, stress pathway interference and a biological transistor.
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Mechanisms underlying the exquisite sensitivity of Candida albicans to combinatorial cationic and oxidative stress that enhances the potent fungicidal activity of phagocytes.
MBio
PUBLISHED: 07-17-2014
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Immune cells exploit reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cationic fluxes to kill microbial pathogens, such as the fungus Candida albicans. Yet, C. albicans is resistant to these stresses in vitro. Therefore, what accounts for the potent antifungal activity of neutrophils? We show that simultaneous exposure to oxidative and cationic stresses is much more potent than the individual stresses themselves and that this combinatorial stress kills C. albicans synergistically in vitro. We also show that the high fungicidal activity of human neutrophils is dependent on the combinatorial effects of the oxidative burst and cationic fluxes, as their pharmacological attenuation with apocynin or glibenclamide reduced phagocytic potency to a similar extent. The mechanistic basis for the extreme potency of combinatorial cationic plus oxidative stress--a phenomenon we term stress pathway interference--lies with the inhibition of hydrogen peroxide detoxification by the cations. In C. albicans this causes the intracellular accumulation of ROS, the inhibition of Cap1 (a transcriptional activator that normally drives the transcriptional response to oxidative stress), and altered readouts of the stress-activated protein kinase Hog1. This leads to a loss of oxidative and cationic stress transcriptional outputs, a precipitous collapse in stress adaptation, and cell death. This stress pathway interference can be suppressed by ectopic catalase (Cat1) expression, which inhibits the intracellular accumulation of ROS and the synergistic killing of C. albicans cells by combinatorial cationic plus oxidative stress. Stress pathway interference represents a powerful fungicidal mechanism employed by the host that suggests novel approaches to potentiate antifungal therapy. Importance: The immune system combats infection via phagocytic cells that recognize and kill pathogenic microbes. Human neutrophils combat Candida infections by killing this fungus with a potent mix of chemicals that includes reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cations. Yet, Candida albicans is relatively resistant to these stresses in vitro. We show that it is the combination of oxidative plus cationic stresses that kills yeasts so effectively, and we define the molecular mechanisms that underlie this potency. Cations inhibit catalase. This leads to the accumulation of intracellular ROS and inhibits the transcription factor Cap1, which is critical for the oxidative stress response in C. albicans. This triggers a dramatic collapse in fungal stress adaptation and cell death. Blocking either the oxidative burst or cationic fluxes in human neutrophils significantly reduces their ability to kill this fungal pathogen, indicating that combinatorial stress is pivotal to immune surveillance.
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Metabolism impacts upon Candida immunogenicity and pathogenicity at multiple levels.
Trends Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 05-20-2014
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Metabolism is integral to the pathogenicity of Candida albicans, a major fungal pathogen of humans. As well as providing the platform for nutrient assimilation and growth in diverse host niches, metabolic adaptation affects the susceptibility of C. albicans to host-imposed stresses and antifungal drugs, the expression of key virulence factors, and fungal vulnerability to innate immune defences. These effects, which are driven by complex regulatory networks linking metabolism, morphogenesis, stress adaptation, and cell wall remodelling, influence commensalism and infection. Therefore, current concepts of Candida-host interactions must be extended to include the impact of metabolic adaptation upon pathogenicity and immunogenicity.
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Fungal chitin dampens inflammation through IL-10 induction mediated by NOD2 and TLR9 activation.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2014
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Chitin is an essential structural polysaccharide of fungal pathogens and parasites, but its role in human immune responses remains largely unknown. It is the second most abundant polysaccharide in nature after cellulose and its derivatives today are widely used for medical and industrial purposes. We analysed the immunological properties of purified chitin particles derived from the opportunistic human fungal pathogen Candida albicans, which led to the selective secretion of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. We identified NOD2, TLR9 and the mannose receptor as essential fungal chitin-recognition receptors for the induction of this response. Chitin reduced LPS-induced inflammation in vivo and may therefore contribute to the resolution of the immune response once the pathogen has been defeated. Fungal chitin also induced eosinophilia in vivo, underpinning its ability to induce asthma. Polymorphisms in the identified chitin receptors, NOD2 and TLR9, predispose individuals to inflammatory conditions and dysregulated expression of chitinases and chitinase-like binding proteins, whose activity is essential to generate IL-10-inducing fungal chitin particles in vitro, have also been linked to inflammatory conditions and asthma. Chitin recognition is therefore critical for immune homeostasis and is likely to have a significant role in infectious and allergic disease.
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Do health behaviours change after colonoscopy? A prospective cohort study on diet, alcohol, physical activity and smoking among patients and their partners.
BMJ Open
PUBLISHED: 01-17-2014
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To describe diet, alcohol, physical activity and tobacco use prospectively, that is, before and 10 months after colonoscopy for patients and their partners.
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New Clox Systems for rapid and efficient gene disruption in Candida albicans.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Precise genome modification is essential for the molecular dissection of Candida albicans, and is yielding invaluable information about the roles of specific gene functions in this major fungal pathogen of humans. C. albicans is naturally diploid, unable to undergo meiosis, and utilizes a non-canonical genetic code. Hence, specialized tools have had to be developed for gene disruption in C. albicans that permit the deletion of both target alleles, and in some cases, the recycling of the Candida-specific selectable markers. Previously, we developed a tool based on the Cre recombinase, which recycles markers in C. albicans with 90-100% efficiency via site-specific recombination between loxP sites. Ironically, the utility of this system was hampered by the extreme efficiency of Cre, which prevented the construction in Escherichia coli of stable disruption cassettes carrying a methionine-regulatable CaMET3p-cre gene flanked by loxP sites. Therefore, we have significantly enhanced this system by engineering new Clox cassettes that carry a synthetic, intron-containing cre gene. The Clox kit facilitates efficient transformation and marker recycling, thereby simplifying and accelerating the process of gene disruption in C. albicans. Indeed, homozygous mutants can be generated and their markers resolved within two weeks. The Clox kit facilitates strategies involving single marker recycling or multi-marker gene disruption. Furthermore, it includes the dominant NAT1 marker, as well as URA3, HIS1 and ARG4 cassettes, thereby permitting the manipulation of clinical isolates as well as genetically marked strains of C. albicans. The accelerated gene disruption strategies afforded by this new Clox system are likely to have a profound impact on the speed with which C. albicans pathobiology can be dissected.
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Fungal iron availability during deep seated candidiasis is defined by a complex interplay involving systemic and local events.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 10-01-2013
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Nutritional immunity--the withholding of nutrients by the host--has long been recognised as an important factor that shapes bacterial-host interactions. However, the dynamics of nutrient availability within local host niches during fungal infection are poorly defined. We have combined laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP MS), MALDI imaging and immunohistochemistry with microtranscriptomics to examine iron homeostasis in the host and pathogen in the murine model of systemic candidiasis. Dramatic changes in the renal iron landscape occur during disease progression. The infection perturbs global iron homeostasis in the host leading to iron accumulation in the renal medulla. Paradoxically, this is accompanied by nutritional immunity in the renal cortex as iron exclusion zones emerge locally around fungal lesions. These exclusion zones correlate with immune infiltrates and haem oxygenase 1-expressing host cells. This local nutritional immunity decreases iron availability, leading to a switch in iron acquisition mechanisms within mature fungal lesions, as revealed by laser capture microdissection and qRT-PCR analyses. Therefore, a complex interplay of systemic and local events influences iron homeostasis and pathogen-host dynamics during disease progression.
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Derivation of aortic distensibility and pulse wave velocity by image registration with a physics-based regularisation term.
Int j numer method biomed eng
PUBLISHED: 06-17-2013
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Analysis of the cardiovascular system represents a classical problem in which the solid and fluid phases interact intimately, and so is a rich field of application for state-of-the-art fluid-solid interaction (FSI) analyses. In this paper, we focus on the human aorta. Solution of the full FSI problem requires knowledge of the material properties of the wall and information on vessel support. We show that variation of distensibility along the aorta can be obtained from four-dimensional image data using image registration. If pressure data at one point in the vessel are available, these can be converted to absolute values. Alternatively, values of pulse wave velocity along the vessel can be obtained. The quality of the extracted data is improved by the incorporation into the registration of a regularisation term based on the one-dimensional wave equation. The method has been validated using simulated data. For idealised vessels, the accuracy with which the distensibility and wave velocity can be extracted is high (1%-2%). The method is applied to six clinical datasets from patients with mild coarctation, for which it is shown that wave velocity along the aorta is relatively constant. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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VapC20 of Mycobacterium tuberculosis cleaves the Sarcin-Ricin loop of 23S rRNA.
Nat Commun
PUBLISHED: 05-01-2013
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The highly persistent and often lethal human pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis contains at least 88 toxin-antitoxin genes. More than half of these encode VapC PIN domain endoribonucleases that inhibit cell growth by unknown mechanisms. Here we show that VapC20 of M. tuberculosis inhibits translation by cleavage of the Sarcin-Ricin loop (SRL) of 23S ribosomal RNA at the same position where Sarcin and other eukaryotic ribotoxins cleave. Toxin-inhibited cells can be rescued by the expression of the antitoxin, thereby raising the possibility that vapC20 contributes to the extreme persistence exhibited by M. tuberculosis. VapC20 cleavage is inhibited by mutations in the SRL that flank the cleavage site but not by changes elsewhere in the loop. Disruption of the SRL stem abolishes cleavage; however, further mutations that restore the SRL stem structure restore cleavage, revealing that the structure rather than the exact sequence of the SRL is important for this activity.
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Role of the Candida albicans MNN1 gene family in cell wall structure and virulence.
BMC Res Notes
PUBLISHED: 04-30-2013
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The Candida albicans cell wall is the first point of contact with the host, and its outer surface is heavily enriched in mannoproteins modified through the addition of N- and O-mannan. Previous work, using mutants with gross defects in glycosylation, has clearly identified the importance of mannan in the host-pathogen interaction, immune recognition and virulence. Here we report the first analysis of the MNN1 gene family, which contains six members predicted to act as ?-1,3 mannosyltransferases in the terminal stages of glycosylation.
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Differential adaptation of Candida albicans in vivo modulates immune recognition by dectin-1.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2013
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The ?-glucan receptor Dectin-1 is a member of the C-type lectin family and functions as an innate pattern recognition receptor in antifungal immunity. In both mouse and man, Dectin-1 has been found to play an essential role in controlling infections with Candida albicans, a normally commensal fungus in man which can cause superficial mucocutaneous infections as well as life-threatening invasive diseases. Here, using in vivo models of infection, we show that the requirement for Dectin-1 in the control of systemic Candida albicans infections is fungal strain-specific; a phenotype that only becomes apparent during infection and cannot be recapitulated in vitro. Transcript analysis revealed that this differential requirement for Dectin-1 is due to variable adaptation of C. albicans strains in vivo, and that this results in substantial differences in the composition and nature of their cell walls. In particular, we established that differences in the levels of cell-wall chitin influence the role of Dectin-1, and that these effects can be modulated by antifungal drug treatment. Our results therefore provide substantial new insights into the interaction between C. albicans and the immune system and have significant implications for our understanding of susceptibility and treatment of human infections with this pathogen.
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The Mnn2 mannosyltransferase family modulates mannoprotein fibril length, immune recognition and virulence of Candida albicans.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2013
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The fungal cell wall is the first point of interaction between an invading fungal pathogen and the host immune system. The outer layer of the cell wall is comprised of GPI anchored proteins, which are post-translationally modified by both N- and O-linked glycans. These glycans are important pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) recognised by the innate immune system. Glycan synthesis is mediated by a series of glycosyl transferases, located in the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. Mnn2 is responsible for the addition of the initial ?1,2-mannose residue onto the ?1,6-mannose backbone, forming the N-mannan outer chain branches. In Candida albicans, the MNN2 gene family is comprised of six members (MNN2, MNN21, MNN22, MNN23, MNN24 and MNN26). Using a series of single, double, triple, quintuple and sextuple mutants, we show, for the first time, that addition of ?1,2-mannose is required for stabilisation of the ?1,6-mannose backbone and hence regulates mannan fibril length. Sequential deletion of members of the MNN2 gene family resulted in the synthesis of lower molecular weight, less complex and more uniform N-glycans, with the sextuple mutant displaying only un-substituted ?1,6-mannose. TEM images confirmed that the sextuple mutant was completely devoid of the outer mannan fibril layer, while deletion of two MNN2 orthologues resulted in short mannan fibrils. These changes in cell wall architecture correlated with decreased proinflammatory cytokine induction from monocytes and a decrease in fungal virulence in two animal models. Therefore, ?1,2-mannose of N-mannan is important for both immune recognition and virulence of C. albicans.
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Reporters for the analysis of N-glycosylation in Candida albicans.
Fungal Genet. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 03-05-2013
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A large proportion of Candida albicans cell surface proteins are decorated post-translationally by glycosylation. Indeed N-glycosylation is critical for cell wall biogenesis in this major fungal pathogen and for its interactions with host cells. A detailed understanding of N-glycosylation will yield deeper insights into host-pathogen interactions. However, the analysis of N-glycosylation is extremely challenging because of the complexity and heterogeneity of these structures. Therefore, in an attempt to reduce this complexity and facilitate the analysis of N-glycosylation, we have developed new synthetic C. albicans reporters that carry a single N-linked glycosylation site derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae Suc2. These glycosylation reporters, which carry C.albicans Hex1 or Sap2 signal sequences plus carboxy-terminal FLAG? and His? tags, were expressed in C.albicans from the ACT1 promoter. The reporter proteins were successfully secreted and hyperglycosylated by C.albicans cells, and their outer chain glycosylation was dependent on Och1 and Pmr1, which are required for N-mannan synthesis, but not on Mnt1 and Mnt2 which are only required for O-mannosylation. These reporters are useful tools for the experimental dissection of N-glycosylation and other related processes in C.albicans, such as secretion.
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From START to FINISH: the influence of osmotic stress on the cell cycle.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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The cell cycle is a sequence of biochemical events that are controlled by complex but robust molecular machinery. This enables cells to achieve accurate self-reproduction under a broad range of different conditions. Environmental changes are transmitted by molecular signalling networks, which coordinate their action with the cell cycle. The cell cycle process and its responses to environmental stresses arise from intertwined nonlinear interactions among large numbers of simpler components. Yet, understanding of how these pieces fit together into a coherent whole requires a systems biology approach. Here, we present a novel mathematical model that describes the influence of osmotic stress on the entire cell cycle of S. cerevisiae for the first time. Our model incorporates all recently known and several proposed interactions between the osmotic stress response pathway and the cell cycle. This model unveils the mechanisms that emerge as a consequence of the interaction between the cell cycle and stress response networks. Furthermore, it characterises the role of individual components. Moreover, it predicts different phenotypical responses for cells depending on the phase of cells at the onset of the stress. The key predictions of the model are: (i) exposure of cells to osmotic stress during the late S and the early G2/M phase can induce DNA re-replication before cell division occurs, (ii) cells stressed at the late G2/M phase display accelerated exit from mitosis and arrest in the next cell cycle, (iii) osmotic stress delays the G1-to-S and G2-to-M transitions in a dose dependent manner, whereas it accelerates the M-to-G1 transition independently of the stress dose and (iv) the Hog MAPK network compensates the role of the MEN network during cell division of MEN mutant cells. These model predictions are supported by independent experiments in S. cerevisiae and, moreover, have recently been observed in other eukaryotes.
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Candida albicans morphogenesis and host defence: discriminating invasion from colonization.
Nat. Rev. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 12-12-2011
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Candida albicans is a common fungal pathogen of humans that colonizes the skin and mucosal surfaces of most healthy individuals. Until recently, little was known about the mechanisms by which mucosal antifungal defences tolerate colonizing C. albicans but react strongly when hyphae of the same microorganism attempt to invade tissue. In this Review, we describe the properties of yeast cells and hyphae that are relevant to their interaction with the host, and the immunological mechanisms that differentially recognize colonizing versus invading C. albicans.
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Posttranslational modifications of proteins in the pathobiology of medically relevant fungi.
Eukaryotic Cell
PUBLISHED: 12-09-2011
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Posttranslational modifications of proteins drive a wide variety of cellular processes in eukaryotes, regulating cell growth and division as well as adaptive and developmental processes. With regard to the fungal kingdom, most information about posttranslational modifications has been generated through studies of the model yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe, where, for example, the roles of protein phosphorylation, glycosylation, acetylation, ubiquitination, sumoylation, and neddylation have been dissected. More recently, information has begun to emerge for the medically important fungal pathogens Candida albicans, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Cryptococcus neoformans, highlighting the relevance of posttranslational modifications for virulence. We review the available literature on protein modifications in fungal pathogens, focusing in particular upon the reversible peptide modifications sumoylation, ubiquitination, and neddylation.
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Accuracy vs. computational time: translating aortic simulations to the clinic.
J Biomech
PUBLISHED: 07-19-2011
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State of the art simulations of aortic haemodynamics feature full fluid-structure interaction (FSI) and coupled 0D boundary conditions. Such analyses require not only significant computational resource but also weeks to months of run time, which compromises the effectiveness of their translation to a clinical workflow. This article employs three computational fluid methodologies, of varying levels of complexity with coupled 0D boundary conditions, to simulate the haemodynamics within a patient-specific aorta. The most comprehensive model is a full FSI simulation. The simplest is a rigid walled incompressible fluid simulation while an alternative middle-ground approach employs a compressible fluid, tuned to elicit a response analogous to the compliance of the aortic wall. The results demonstrate that, in the context of certain clinical questions, the simpler analysis methods may capture the important characteristics of the flow field.
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Importance of realistic LVAD profiles for assisted aortic simulations: evaluation of optimal outflow anastomosis locations.
Comput Methods Biomech Biomed Engin
PUBLISHED: 05-24-2011
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Left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are carefully designed, but the significance of the implantation configuration and interaction with the vasculature is complex and not fully determined. The present study employs computational fluid dynamics to investigate the importance of applying a realistic LVAD profile when evaluating assisted aortic flow fields and subsequently compares a number of potential anastomosis locations in a patient-specific aortic geometry. The outflow profile of the Berlin Heart INCOR® device was provided by Berlin Heart GmbH (Berlin, Germany) and the cannula was attached at a number of locations on the aorta. Simulations were conducted to compare a flat profile against the real LVAD profile. The results illustrate the importance of applying an LVAD profile. It not only affects the magnitude and distribution of oscillatory shear index, but also the distribution of flow to the great arteries. The ascending aorta was identified as the optimal location for the anastomosis.
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Analysing GCN4 translational control in yeast by stochastic chemical kinetics modelling and simulation.
BMC Syst Biol
PUBLISHED: 03-25-2011
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The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae responds to amino acid starvation by inducing the transcription factor Gcn4. This is mainly mediated via a translational control mechanism dependent upon the translation initiation eIF2·GTP·Met-tRNAiMet ternary complex, and the four short upstream open reading frames (uORFs) in its 5 mRNA leader. These uORFs act to attenuate GCN4 mRNA translation under normal conditions. During amino acid starvation, levels of ternary complex are reduced. This overcomes the GCN4 translation attenuation effect via a scanning/reinitiation control mechanism dependent upon uORF spacing.
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Recognition and blocking of innate immunity cells by Candida albicans chitin.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 02-28-2011
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Chitin is a skeletal cell wall polysaccharide of the inner cell wall of fungal pathogens. As yet, little about its role during fungus-host immune cell interactions is known. We show here that ultrapurified chitin from Candida albicans cell walls did not stimulate cytokine production directly but blocked the recognition of C. albicans by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and murine macrophages, leading to significant reductions in cytokine production. Chitin did not affect the induction of cytokines stimulated by bacterial cells or lipopolysaccharide (LPS), indicating that blocking was not due to steric masking of specific receptors. Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), TLR4, and Mincle (the macrophage-inducible C-type lectin) were not required for interactions with chitin. Dectin-1 was required for immune blocking but did not bind chitin directly. Cytokine stimulation was significantly reduced upon stimulation of PBMCs with heat-killed chitin-deficient C. albicans cells but not with live cells. Therefore, chitin is normally not exposed to cells of the innate immune system but is capable of influencing immune recognition by blocking dectin-1-mediated engagement with fungal cell walls.
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Computational modelling and evaluation of cardiovascular response under pulsatile impeller pump support.
Interface Focus
PUBLISHED: 02-04-2011
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This study presents a numerical simulation of cardiovascular response in the heart failure condition under the support of a Berlin Heart INCOR impeller pump-type ventricular assist device (VAD). The model is implemented using the CellML modelling language. To investigate the potential of using the Berlin Heart INCOR impeller pump to produce physiologically meaningful arterial pulse pressure within the various physiological constraints, a series of VAD-assisted cardiovascular cases are studied, in which the pulsation ratio and the phase shift of the VAD motion profile are systematically changed to observe the cardiovascular responses in each of the studied cases. An optimization process is proposed, including the introduction of a cost function to balance the importance of the characteristic cardiovascular variables. Based on this cost function it is found that a pulsation ratio of 0.35 combined with a phase shift of 200° produces the optimal cardiovascular response, giving rise to a maximal arterial pulse pressure of 12.6 mm Hg without inducing regurgitant pump flow while keeping other characteristic cardiovascular variables within appropriate physiological ranges.
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Nitric oxide and nitrosative stress tolerance in yeast.
Biochem. Soc. Trans.
PUBLISHED: 01-27-2011
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The opportunistic human fungal pathogen Candida albicans encounters diverse environmental stresses when it is in contact with its host. When colonizing and invading human tissues, C. albicans is exposed to ROS (reactive oxygen species) and RNIs (reactive nitrogen intermediates). ROS and RNIs are generated in the first line of host defence by phagocytic cells such as macrophages and neutrophils. In order to escape these host-induced oxidative and nitrosative stresses, C. albicans has developed various detoxification mechanisms. One such mechanism is the detoxification of NO (nitric oxide) to nitrate by the flavohaemoglobin enzyme CaYhb1. Members of the haemoglobin superfamily are highly conserved and are found in archaea, eukaryotes and bacteria. Flavohaemoglobins have a dioxygenase activity [NOD (NO dioxygenase domain)] and contain three domains: a globin domain, an FAD-binding domain and an NAD(P)-binding domain. In the present paper, we examine the nitrosative stress response in three fungal models: the pathogenic yeast C. albicans, the benign budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the benign fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We compare their enzymatic and non-enzymatic NO and RNI detoxification mechanisms and summarize fungal responses to nitrosative stress.
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Molecular and proteomic analyses highlight the importance of ubiquitination for the stress resistance, metabolic adaptation, morphogenetic regulation and virulence of Candida albicans.
Mol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 01-26-2011
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Post-translational modifications of proteins play key roles in eukaryotic growth, differentiation and environmental adaptation. In model systems the ubiquitination of specific proteins contributes to the control of cell cycle progression, stress adaptation and metabolic reprogramming. We have combined molecular, cellular and proteomic approaches to examine the roles of ubiquitination in Candida albicans, because little is known about ubiquitination in this major fungal pathogen of humans. Independent null (ubi4/ubi4) and conditional (MET3p-UBI4/ubi4) mutations were constructed at the C. albicans polyubiquitin-encoding locus. These mutants displayed morphological and cell cycle defects, as well as sensitivity to thermal, oxidative and cell wall stresses. Furthermore, ubi4/ubi4 cells rapidly lost viability under starvation conditions. Consistent with these phenotypes, proteins with roles in stress responses (Gnd1, Pst2, Ssb1), metabolism (Acs2, Eno1, Fba1, Gpd2, Pdx3, Pgk1, Tkl1) and ubiquitination (Ubi4, Ubi3, Pre1, Pre3, Rpt5) were among the ubiquitination targets we identified, further indicating that ubiquitination plays key roles in growth, stress responses and metabolic adaptation in C. albicans. Clearly ubiquitination plays key roles in the regulation of fundamental cellular processes that underpin the pathogenicity of this medically important fungus. This was confirmed by the observation that the virulence of C. albicans ubi4/ubi4 cells is significantly attenuated.
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Glycosylation status of the C. albicans cell wall affects the efficiency of neutrophil phagocytosis and killing but not cytokine signaling.
Med. Mycol.
PUBLISHED: 01-24-2011
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The cell wall of the opportunistic human fungal pathogen, Candida albicans is a complex, layered network of rigid structural polysaccharides composed of ?-glucans and chitin that is covered with a fibrillar matrix of highly glycosylated mannoproteins. Polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs, neutrophils) are the most prevalent circulating phagocytic leukocyte in peripheral blood and they are pivotal in the clearance of invading fungal cells from tissues. The importance of cell-wall mannans for the recognition and uptake of C. albicans by human PMNs was therefore investigated. N- and O-glycosylation-deficient mutants were attenuated in binding and phagocytosis by PMNs and this was associated with reduced killing of C. albicans yeast cells. No differences were found in the production of the respiratory burst enzyme myeloperoxidase (MPO) and the neutrophil chemokine IL-8 in PMNs exposed to control and glycosylation-deficient C. albicans strains. Thus, the significant decrease in killing of glycan-deficient C. albicans strains by PMNs is a consequence of a marked reduction in phagocytosis rather than changes in the release of inflammatory mediators by PMNs.
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Identification of sumoylation targets, combined with inactivation of SMT3, reveals the impact of sumoylation upon growth, morphology, and stress resistance in the pathogen Candida albicans.
Mol. Biol. Cell
PUBLISHED: 01-05-2011
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Posttranslational modifications of proteins play critical roles in the control of cellular differentiation, development, and environmental adaptation. In particular, the covalent attachment of the small ubiquitin-like modifier, SUMO, to target proteins (sumoylation) regulates cell cycle progression, transcription, nucleocytoplasmic transport, and stress responses. Here we combine proteomic, molecular, and cellular approaches to examine the roles of sumoylation in the major fungal pathogen of humans, Candida albicans. Using an N-terminally FLAG-tagged SUMO, 31 sumoylated proteins were identified in C. albicans with roles in stress responses (e.g., Hsp60, Hsp70 family members, Hsp104), the cytoskeleton and polarized growth (e.g., Tub1, Cct7, Mlc1), secretion, and endocytosis (e.g., Lsp1, Sec24, Sec7). The output from this proteomic screen was entirely consistent with the phenotypes of C. albicans mutants in which the single SUMO-encoding locus (SMT3) was inactivated or down-regulated. C. albicans smt3/smt3 cells displayed defects in growth, morphology, cell separation, nuclear segregation, and chitin deposition, suggesting important roles for sumoylation in cell cycle control. Smt3/smt3 cells also displayed sensitivity to thermal, oxidative, and cell wall stresses as well as to the antifungal drug caspofungin. Mutation of consensus sumoylation sites in Hsp60 and Hsp104 affected the resistance of C. albicans to thermal stress. Furthermore, signaling via the cell integrity pathway was defective in C. albicans smt3/smt3 cells. These observations provide mechanistic explanations for many of the observed phenotypic effects of Smt3 inactivation upon C. albicans growth and environmental adaptation. Clearly sumoylation plays key roles in fundamental cellular processes that underpin the pathogenicity of this medically important fungus.
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The relevance of heat shock regulation in fungal pathogens of humans.
Virulence
PUBLISHED: 12-24-2010
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Despite being obligately associated with warm-blooded animals, Candida albicans expresses a bona fide heat shock response that is regulated by the evolutionarily conserved, essential heat shock transcription factor Hsf1. Hsf1 is thought to play a fundamental role in thermal homeostasis, adjusting the levels of essential chaperones to changes in growth temperature, for example in febrile patients. Hsf1 also regulates the expression of Hsp90, which controls the yeast-hypha transition in C. albicans, and we argue, might also control morphogenesis in other fungal pathogens of humans.
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Bioluminescent fungi for real-time monitoring of fungal infections.
Virulence
PUBLISHED: 12-24-2010
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Novel luciferase reporters have been developed that allow real-time monitoring of infections by the fungal pathogens Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus. Although these reporters still suffer limitations in the context of invasive infections, they provide unprecedented tools to monitor superficial infections and the efficacy of antifungal drugs or vaccines. In particular, the sensitivity and ease of detection of the cell-surface Gaussia princeps luciferase developed for C. albicans should make it a powerful tool for functional genomics studies in this and other pathogenic fungi.
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Differential regulation of kidney and spleen cytokine responses in mice challenged with pathology-standardized doses of Candida albicans mannosylation mutants.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 11-08-2010
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Cell surface polysaccharides are key determinants of host responses to fungal infection. We determined the effects of alterations in Candida albicans cell surface polysaccharide composition and gross changes in the host immune response in groups of mice challenged intravenously with five C. albicans strains at doses adjusted to give equal disease progression 3 days later. The five strains used were the parental strain NGY152, two mutants with defective cell wall mannosylation, pmr1? mutant and mnt1/2? mutant, and the same two strains with a copy of PMR1 and MNT1 reintegrated, respectively. Renal and spleen levels of chemokines and cytokines previously shown to be key components of early host response to C. albicans were determined at intervals up to 3 days after challenge. By 12 h after C. albicans challenge, the levels of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), keratinocyte-derived chemokine (KC), interleukin 6 (IL-6), monocyte chemotactic peptide 1 (MCP-1), macrophage inflammatory protein 1? (MIP-1?), MIP-1?, and MIP-2 were higher in the kidneys of mice challenged with the pmr1? mutant than in animals challenged with the other strains and were lower by day 3, suggesting an earlier host response to the pmr1? mutant. The production of these chemokines also diminished earlier than controls in mice infected with the mnt1/2? strain. Although these differences were statistically significant, their magnitude was seldom great, and no unambiguous evidence was obtained for individual responses specific to any cell surface glycosylation change. We conclude that complex, multifactorial local responses offset and obscure any differences resulting from differences in surface mannosylation of C. albicans strains when infection results from pathology-standardized challenges.
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HIV/AIDS information by African companies: an empirical analysis.
J Asian Afr Stud
PUBLISHED: 08-19-2010
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This article investigates the extent of Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Disclosures (HIV/AIDSD) in online annual reports by 200 listed companies from 10 African countries for the year ending 2006. Descriptive statistics reveal a very low level of overall HIV/AIDSD practices with a mean of 6 per cent disclosure, with half (100 out of 200) of the African companies making no disclosures at all. Logistic regression analysis reveals that company size and country are highly significant predictors of any disclosure of HIV/AIDS in annual reports. Profitability is also statistically significantly associated with the extent of disclosure.
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Activation of the heat shock transcription factor Hsf1 is essential for the full virulence of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans.
Fungal Genet. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 07-22-2010
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The evolutionarily conserved heat shock transcription factor Hsf1 plays a central role in thermal adaptation in the major fungal pathogen of humans, Candida albicans. Hsf1 becomes hyperphosphorylated in response to heat shock and activates the transcription of genes with heat shock elements (HSEs) in their promoters, these genes contributing to thermal adaptation. However, the relevance of Hsf1 activation to C. albicans virulence is not clear as this pathogen is thought to be obligately associated with warm blooded animals, and this issue has not been tested because HSF1 is essential for viability in C. albicans. In this study, we demonstrate that the HSE regulon is active in C. albicans cells infecting the kidney. We also show the CE2 region of Hsf1 is required for activation and that the phosphorylation of specific residues in this domain contributes to Hsf1 activation. C. albicans HSF1 mutants that lack this CE2 region are viable. However, they are unable to activate HSE-containing genes in response to heat shock, and they are thermosensitive. Using this HSF1 CE2 deletion mutant we demonstrate that Hsf1 activation, and hence thermal adaptation, contributes significantly to the virulence of C. albicans.
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Plasmids for in vivo construction of integrative Candida albicans vectors in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Yeast
PUBLISHED: 07-06-2010
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A general system has been devised for the in vivo construction of Candida albicans integrative vectors in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The system is especially useful for the integration of genes in C. albicans that cannot be propagated in Escherichia coli, possibly because of their toxic effects. The ligation of S. cerevisiae 2 µ sequences to a C. albicans integrative vector permits in vivo maintenance and gap repair cloning within S. cerevisiae. After the vector assembly, it can be purified from S. cerevisiae or amplified by PCR and then used for transformation of C. albicans. The S. cerevisiae 2 µ sequence is completely removed by linearization prior to C. albicans transformation, such that no unwanted DNA is transferred in the final construct. The system was successfully used to clone and reintegrate the C. albicans JEN2 gene, which encodes a membrane protein that is apparently toxic to E. coli. Three popular C. albicans integrative vectors, CIp10, CIp20 and CIp30, are now available in versions that permit gap repair in S. cerevisiae.
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Melanin externalization in Candida albicans depends on cell wall chitin structures.
Eukaryotic Cell
PUBLISHED: 06-11-2010
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The fungal pathogen Candida albicans produces dark-pigmented melanin after 3 to 4 days of incubation in medium containing l-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (l-DOPA) as a substrate. Expression profiling of C. albicans revealed very few genes significantly up- or downregulated by growth in l-DOPA. We were unable to determine a possible role for melanin in the virulence of C. albicans. However, we showed that melanin was externalized from the fungal cells in the form of electron-dense melanosomes that were free or often loosely bound to the cell wall exterior. Melanin production was boosted by the addition of N-acetylglucosamine to the medium, indicating a possible association between melanin production and chitin synthesis. Melanin externalization was blocked in a mutant specifically disrupted in the chitin synthase-encoding gene CHS2. Melanosomes remained within the outermost cell wall layers in chs3Delta and chs2Delta chs3Delta mutants but were fully externalized in chs8Delta and chs2Delta chs8Delta mutants. All the CHS mutants synthesized dark pigment at equivalent rates from mixed membrane fractions in vitro, suggesting it was the form of chitin structure produced by the enzymes, not the enzymes themselves, that was involved in the melanin externalization process. Mutants with single and double disruptions of the chitinase genes CHT2 and CHT3 and the chitin pathway regulator ECM33 also showed impaired melanin externalization. We hypothesize that the chitin product of Chs3 forms a scaffold essential for normal externalization of melanosomes, while the Chs8 chitin product, probably produced in cell walls in greater quantity in the absence of CHS2, impedes externalization.
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Phosphorylation regulates polarisation of chitin synthesis in Candida albicans.
J. Cell. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 06-08-2010
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The ability to undergo polarised cell growth is fundamental to the development of almost all walled organisms. Fungi are characterised by yeasts and moulds, and both cellular forms have been studied extensively as tractable models of cell polarity. Chitin is a hallmark component of fungal cell walls. Chitin synthesis is essential for growth, viability and rescue from many conditions that impair cell-wall integrity. In the polymorphic human pathogen Candida albicans, chitin synthase 3 (Chs3) synthesises the majority of chitin in the cell wall and is localised at the tips of growing buds and hyphae, and at the septum. An analysis of the C. albicans phospho-proteome revealed that Chs3 can be phosphorylated at Ser139. Mutation of this site showed that both phosphorylation and dephosphorylation are required for the correct localisation and function of Chs3. The kinase Pkc1 was not required to target Chs3 to sites of polarised growth. This is the first report demonstrating an essential role for chitin synthase phosphorylation in the polarised biosynthesis of fungal cell walls and suggests a new mechanism for the regulation of this class of glycosyl-transferase enzyme.
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Microbial signaling and systems biology.
Genome Biol.
PUBLISHED: 05-17-2010
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A report of the symposium on Signaling and Systems Biology held during the Society for General Microbiology Spring Meeting, 29-30 March 2010, Edinburgh, UK.
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Characterization of a beta-hydroxybutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Microbiology (Reading, Engl.)
PUBLISHED: 04-08-2010
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The lipid-rich cell wall of mycobacteria is essential not only for virulence but also for survival. Whilst anabolic pathways for mycobacterial lipid biosynthesis have been well studied, there has been little research looking into lipid catabolism. The genome of Mycobacterium tuberculosis encodes multiple enzymes with putative roles in the beta-oxidation of fatty acids. In this report we explore the functionality of FadB2, one of five M. tuberculosis homologues of a beta-hydroxybutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase, an enzyme that catalyses the third step in the beta-oxidation cycle. Purified M. tuberculosis FadB2 catalysed the in vitro NAD(+)-dependent dehydration of beta-hydroxybutyryl-CoA to acetoacetyl-CoA at pH 10. Mutation of the active-site serine-122 residue resulted in loss of enzyme activity, consistent with the function of FadB2 as a fatty acyl dehydrogenase involved in the beta-oxidation of fatty acids. Surprisingly, purified FadB2 also catalysed the reverse reaction, converting acetoacetyl-CoA to beta-hydroxybutyryl-CoA, albeit in a lower pH range of 5.5-6.5. Additionally, a null mutant of fadB2 was generated in Mycobacterium smegmatis. However, the mutant showed no significant differences from the wild-type strain with regard to lipid composition, utilization of different fatty acid carbon sources and tolerance to various stresses; the absence of any phenotype in the mutant strain could be due to the potential redundancy between the five M. smegmatis fadB paralogues.
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A quantitative model for mRNA translation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Yeast
PUBLISHED: 03-23-2010
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Messenger RNA (mRNA) translation is an essential step in eukaryotic gene expression that contributes to the regulation of this process. We describe a deterministic model based on ordinary differential equations that describe mRNA translation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This model, which was parameterized using published data, was developed to examine the kinetic behaviour of translation initiation factors in response to amino acid availability. The model predicts that the abundance of the eIF1-eIF3-eIF5 complex increases under amino acid starvation conditions, suggesting a possible auxiliary role for these factors in modulating translation initiation in addition to the known mechanisms involving eIF2. Our analyses of the robustness of the mRNA translation model suggest that individual cells within a randomly generated population are sensitive to external perturbations (such as changes in amino acid availability) through Gcn2 signalling. However, the model predicts that individual cells exhibit robustness against internal perturbations (such as changes in the abundance of translation initiation factors and kinetic parameters). Gcn2 appears to enhance this robustness within the system. These findings suggest a trade-off between the robustness and performance of this biological network. The model also predicts that individual cells exhibit considerable heterogeneity with respect to their absolute translation rates, due to random internal perturbations. Therefore, averaging the kinetic behaviour of cell populations probably obscures the dynamic robustness of individual cells. This highlights the importance of single-cell measurements for evaluating network properties.
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A multifunctional mannosyltransferase family in Candida albicans determines cell wall mannan structure and host-fungus interactions.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 02-17-2010
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The cell wall proteins of fungi are modified by N- and O-linked mannosylation and phosphomannosylation, resulting in changes to the physical and immunological properties of the cell. Glycosylation of cell wall proteins involves the activities of families of endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi-located glycosyl transferases whose activities are difficult to infer through bioinformatics. The Candida albicans MNT1/KRE2 mannosyl transferase family is represented by five members. We showed previously that Mnt1 and Mnt2 are involved in O-linked mannosylation and are required for virulence. Here, the role of C. albicans MNT3, MNT4, and MNT5 was determined by generating single and multiple MnTDelta null mutants and by functional complementation experiments in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. CaMnt3, CaMnt4, and CaMnt5 did not participate in O-linked mannosylation, but CaMnt3 and CaMnt5 had redundant activities in phosphomannosylation and were responsible for attachment of approximately half of the phosphomannan attached to N-linked mannans. CaMnt4 and CaMnt5 participated in N-mannan branching. Deletion of CaMNT3, CaMNT4, and CaMNT5 affected the growth rate and virulence of C. albicans, affected the recognition of the yeast by human monocytes and cytokine stimulation, and led to increased cell wall chitin content and exposure of beta-glucan at the cell wall surface. Therefore, the MNT1/KRE2 gene family participates in three types of protein mannosylation in C. albicans, and these modifications play vital roles in fungal cell wall structure and cell surface recognition by the innate immune system.
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Pseudomonas aeruginosa secreted factors impair biofilm development in Candida albicans.
Microbiology (Reading, Engl.)
PUBLISHED: 02-11-2010
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Signal-mediated interactions between the human opportunistic pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans affect virulence traits in both organisms. Phenotypic studies revealed that bacterial supernatant from four P. aeruginosa strains strongly reduced the ability of C. albicans to form biofilms on silicone. This was largely a consequence of inhibition of biofilm maturation, a phenomenon also observed with supernatant prepared from non-clinical bacterial species. The effects of supernatant on biofilm formation were not mediated via interference with the yeast-hyphal morphological switch and occurred regardless of the level of homoserine lactone (HSL) produced, indicating that the effect is HSL-independent. A transcriptome analysis to dissect the effects of the P. aeruginosa supernatants on gene expression in the early stages of C. albicans biofilm formation identified 238 genes that exhibited reproducible changes in expression in response to all four supernatants. In particular, there was a strong increase in the expression of genes related to drug or toxin efflux and a decrease in expression of genes associated with adhesion and biofilm formation. Furthermore, expression of YWP1, which encodes a protein known to inhibit biofilm formation, was significantly increased. Biofilm formation is a key aspect of C. albicans infections, therefore the capacity of P. aeruginosa to antagonize this has clear biomedical implications.
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Functional specialization and differential regulation of short-chain carboxylic acid transporters in the pathogen Candida albicans.
Mol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 12-04-2009
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The major fungal pathogen Candida albicans has the metabolic flexibility to assimilate a wide range of nutrients in its human host. Previous studies have suggested that C. albicans can encounter glucose-poor microenvironments during infection and that the ability to use alternative non-fermentable carbon sources contributes to its virulence. JEN1 encodes a monocarboxylate transporter in C. albicans and we show that its paralogue, JEN2, encodes a novel dicarboxylate plasma membrane transporter, subjected to glucose repression. A strain deleted in both genes lost the ability to transport lactic, malic and succinic acids by a mediated mechanism and it displayed a growth defect on these substrates. Although no significant morphogenetic or virulence defects were found in the double mutant strain, both JEN1 and JEN2 were strongly induced during infection. Jen1-GFP (green fluorescent protein) and Jen2-GFP were upregulated following the phagocytosis of C. albicans cells by neutrophils and macrophages, displaying similar behaviour to an Icl1-GFP fusion. In the murine model of systemic candidiasis approximately 20-25% of C. albicans cells infecting the kidney expressed Jen1-GFP and Jen2-GFP. Our data suggest that Jen1 and Jen2 are expressed in glucose-poor niches within the host, and that these short-chain carboxylic acid transporters may be important in the early stages of infection.
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A proteomic analysis of the salt, cadmium and peroxide stress responses in Candida albicans and the role of the Hog1 stress-activated MAPK in regulating the stress-induced proteome.
Proteomics
PUBLISHED: 10-14-2009
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Stress responses are important for the virulence of the major fungal pathogen of humans, Candida albicans. In this study we employed a 2-DE approach to examine the impact of exposure to peroxide (5 mM H(2)O(2)), salt (300 mM NaCl) or cadmium stress (0.5 mM Cd(2+)) upon the C. albicans proteome. Highly reproducible changes in the C. albicans proteome were observed in response to each stress condition. Significantly more proteins were up-regulated in response to cadmium (77) than to the salt (35) or peroxide stresses (35). These proteomic changes displayed minimal overlap with those observed in the transcriptome under equivalent conditions and, importantly, revealed functional categories that respond to stress at the protein level but not the transcript level. Six proteins were up-regulated by all three conditions: Adh1, Atp2, Cip1, Eft2, Ssa1 and Ssb1, which is consistent with the concept that a core stress response exists in C. albicans. This is the first time that a fungal core stress response has been defined at the proteomic level. We have also shown that the Hog1 stress-activated mitogen-activated protein kinase, which is activated in response to the stresses examined in this study, makes a major contribution to the C. albicans stress proteome.
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Role of the heat shock transcription factor, Hsf1, in a major fungal pathogen that is obligately associated with warm-blooded animals.
Mol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 10-08-2009
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All organisms have evolved mechanisms that protect them against environmental stress. The major fungal pathogen of humans, Candida albicans, has evolved robust stress responses that protect it against human immune defences and promote its pathogenicity. However, C. albicans is unlikely to be exposed to heat shock as it is obligatorily associated with warm-blooded animals. Therefore, we examined the role of the heat shock transcription factor (Hsf1) in this pathogen. We show that C. albicans expresses an evolutionarily conserved Hsf1 (orf19.4775) that is phosphorylated in response to heat shock, induces transcription via the heat shock element (HSE), contributes to the global transcriptional response to heat shock, and is essential for viability. Why has Hsf1 been conserved in this obligate animal saprophyte? We reasoned that Hsf1 might contribute to medically relevant stress responses. However, this is not the case, as an Hsf1-specific HSE-lacZ reporter is not activated by oxidative, osmotic, weak acid or pH stress. Rather, Hsf1 is required for the expression of essential chaperones in the absence of heat shock (e.g. Hsp104, Hsp90, Hsp70). Furthermore, Hsf1 regulates the expression of HSE-containing genes in response to growth temperature in C. albicans. Therefore, the main role of Hsf1 in this pathogen might be the homeostatic modulation of chaperone levels in response to growth temperature, rather than the activation of acute responses to sudden thermal transitions.
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Glucose promotes stress resistance in the fungal pathogen Candida albicans.
Mol. Biol. Cell
PUBLISHED: 09-16-2009
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Metabolic adaptation, and in particular the modulation of carbon assimilatory pathways during disease progression, is thought to contribute to the pathogenicity of Candida albicans. Therefore, we have examined the global impact of glucose upon the C. albicans transcriptome, testing the sensitivity of this pathogen to wide-ranging glucose levels (0.01, 0.1, and 1.0%). We show that, like Saccharomyces cerevisiae, C. albicans is exquisitely sensitive to glucose, regulating central metabolic genes even in response to 0.01% glucose. This indicates that glucose concentrations in the bloodstream (approximate range 0.05-0.1%) have a significant impact upon C. albicans gene regulation. However, in contrast to S. cerevisiae where glucose down-regulates stress responses, some stress genes were induced by glucose in C. albicans. This was reflected in elevated resistance to oxidative and cationic stresses and resistance to an azole antifungal agent. Cap1 and Hog1 probably mediate glucose-enhanced resistance to oxidative stress, but neither is essential for this effect. However, Hog1 is phosphorylated in response to glucose and is essential for glucose-enhanced resistance to cationic stress. The data suggest that, upon entering the bloodstream, C. albicans cells respond to glucose increasing their resistance to the oxidative and cationic stresses central to the armory of immunoprotective phagocytic cells.
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A beta-glucan-conjugate vaccine and anti-beta-glucan antibodies are effective against murine vaginal candidiasis as assessed by a novel in vivo imaging technique.
Vaccine
PUBLISHED: 08-31-2009
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The protective capacity of a parenterally administered beta-glucan-conjugate vaccine formulated with the human-compatible MF59 adjuvant was assessed in a murine model of vaginal candidiasis. To monitor infection, an in vivo imaging technique exploiting genetically engineered, luminescent Candida albicans was adopted, and compared with measurements of colony forming units. The vaccine conferred significant protection, and this was associated with production of serum and vaginal anti-beta-glucan IgG antibodies. Vaginal IgG molecules were the likely mediators of protection as inferred by the efficacy of passive transfer of immune vaginal fluid and passive protection by an anti-beta-1,3-glucan mAb. Overall, the in vivo imaging technique was more reliable than vaginal CFU counts in assessing the extent and duration of the vaginal infection, and the consequent protection level.
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A multifunctional, synthetic Gaussia princeps luciferase reporter for live imaging of Candida albicans infections.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 08-17-2009
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Real-time monitoring of the spatial and temporal progression of infection/gene expression in animals will contribute greatly to our understanding of host-pathogen interactions while reducing the number of animals required to generate statistically significant data sets. Sensitive in vivo imaging technologies can detect low levels of light emitted from luciferase reporters in vivo, but the existing reporters are not optimal for fungal infections. Therefore, our aim was to develop a novel reporter system for imaging Candida albicans infections that overcomes the limitations of current luciferase reporters for this major fungal pathogen. This luciferase reporter was constructed by fusing a synthetic, codon-optimized version of the Gaussia princeps luciferase gene to C. albicans PGA59, which encodes a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-linked cell wall protein. Luciferase expressed from this PGA59-gLUC fusion (referred to as gLUC59) was localized at the C. albicans cell surface, allowing the detection of luciferase in intact cells. The analysis of fusions to strong (ACT1 and EFT3), oxidative stress-induced (TRX1, TRR1, and IPF9996), and morphogenesis-dependent (HWP1) promoters confirmed that gLUC59 is a convenient and sensitive reporter for studies of gene regulation in yeast or hyphal cells, as well as a flexible screening tool. Moreover, the ACT1-gLUC59 fusion represented a powerful tool for the imaging of disease progression in superficial and subcutaneous C. albicans infections. gLUC59 and related cell surface-exposed luciferase reporters might find wide applications in molecular biology, cell biology, pathobiology, and high-throughput screens.
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Platensimycin activity against mycobacterial beta-ketoacyl-ACP synthases.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 05-01-2009
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There is an urgent need for the discovery and development of new drugs against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, especially due to the recent emergence of multi-drug and extensively-drug resistant strains. Herein, we have examined the susceptibility of mycobacteria to the natural product platensimycin.
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The Mycobacterium tuberculosis beta-ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein synthase III activity is inhibited by phosphorylation on a single threonine residue.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 04-28-2009
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Mycolic acids are hallmark features of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell wall. They are synthesized by the condensation of two fatty acids, a C56-64-meromycolyl chain and a C24-26-fatty acyl chain. Meromycolates are produced via the combination of type I and type II fatty acid synthases (FAS-I and FAS-II). The beta-ketoacyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) synthase III (mtFabH) links FAS-I and FAS-II, catalyzing the condensation of FAS-I-derived acyl-CoAs with malonyl-ACP. Because mtFabH represents a potential regulatory key point of the mycolic acid pathway, we investigated the hypothesis that phosphorylation of mtFabH controls its activity. Phosphorylation of proteins by Ser/Thr protein kinases (STPKs) has recently emerged as a major physiological mechanism of regulation in prokaryotes. We demonstrate here that mtFabH was efficiently phosphorylated in vitro by several mycobacterial STPKs, particularly by PknF and PknA, as well as in vivo in mycobacteria. Analysis of the phosphoamino acid content indicated that mtFabH was phosphorylated exclusively on threonine residues. Mass spectrometry analyses using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization/tandem mass spectrometry identified Thr45 as the unique phosphoacceptor. This was further supported by complete loss of PknF- or PknA-dependent phosphorylation of a mtFabH mutant. Mapping Thr45 on the crystal structure of mtFabH illustrates that this residue is located at the entrance of the substrate channel, suggesting that the phosphate group may alter accessibility of the substrate and thus affect mtFabH enzymatic activity. A T45D mutant of mtFabH, designed to mimic constitutive phosphorylation, exhibited markedly decreased transacylation, malonyl-AcpM decarboxylation, and condensing activities compared with the wild-type protein or the T45A mutant. Together, these findings not only represent the first demonstration of phosphorylation of a beta-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III enzyme but also indicate that phosphorylation of mtFabH inhibits its enzymatic activity, which may have important consequences in regulating mycolic acid biosynthesis.
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Identification of 2-aminothiazole-4-carboxylate derivatives active against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv and the beta-ketoacyl-ACP synthase mtFabH.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 04-21-2009
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Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease which kills two million people every year and infects approximately over one-third of the worlds population. The difficulty in managing tuberculosis is the prolonged treatment duration, the emergence of drug resistance and co-infection with HIV/AIDS. Tuberculosis control requires new drugs that act at novel drug targets to help combat resistant forms of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and reduce treatment duration.
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Nitrosative and oxidative stress responses in fungal pathogenicity.
Curr. Opin. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 04-09-2009
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Fungal pathogenicity has arisen in polyphyletic manner during evolution, yielding fungal pathogens with diverse infection strategies and with differing degrees of evolutionary adaptation to their human host. Not surprisingly, these fungal pathogens display differing degrees of resistance to the reactive oxygen and nitrogen species used by human cells to counteract infection. Furthermore, whilst evolutionarily conserved regulators, such as Hog1, are central to such stress responses in many fungal pathogens, species-specific differences in their roles and regulation abound. In contrast, there is a high degree of commonality in the cellular responses to reactive oxygen and nitrogen species evoked in evolutionarily divergent fungal pathogens.
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Early-expressed chemokines predict kidney immunopathology in experimental disseminated Candida albicans infections.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 03-09-2009
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The mouse intravenous challenge model of Candida albicans infection is widely used to determine aspects of host-fungus interaction. We investigated the production of cytokines in the kidneys and spleen of animals up to 48 h after challenge with virulent and attenuated isolates and related these responses to semi-quantitative estimations of histopathological changes in the kidney.
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Genome-wide gene expression profiling and a forward genetic screen show that differential expression of the sodium ion transporter Ena21 contributes to the differential tolerance of Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis to osmotic stress.
Mol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 02-23-2009
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Candida albicans is more pathogenic than Candida dubliniensis. However, this disparity in virulence is surprising given the high level of sequence conservation and the wide range of phenotypic traits shared by these two species. Increased sensitivity to environmental stresses has been suggested to be a possible contributory factor to the lower virulence of C. dubliniensis. In this study, we investigated, in the first comparison of C. albicans and C. dubliniensis by transcriptional profiling, global gene expression in each species when grown under conditions in which the two species exhibit differential stress tolerance. The profiles revealed similar core responses to stresses in both species, but differences in the amplitude of the general transcriptional responses to thermal, salt and oxidative stress. Differences in the regulation of specific stress genes were observed between the two species. In particular, ENA21, encoding a sodium ion transporter, was strongly induced in C. albicans but not in C. dubliniensis. In addition, ENA21 was identified in a forward genetic screen for C. albicans genomic sequences that increase salt tolerance in C. dubliniensis. Introduction of a single copy of CaENA21 was subsequently shown to be sufficient to confer salt tolerance upon C. dubliniensis.
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Evolution of pathogenicity and sexual reproduction in eight Candida genomes.
Nature
PUBLISHED: 02-22-2009
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Candida species are the most common cause of opportunistic fungal infection worldwide. Here we report the genome sequences of six Candida species and compare these and related pathogens and non-pathogens. There are significant expansions of cell wall, secreted and transporter gene families in pathogenic species, suggesting adaptations associated with virulence. Large genomic tracts are homozygous in three diploid species, possibly resulting from recent recombination events. Surprisingly, key components of the mating and meiosis pathways are missing from several species. These include major differences at the mating-type loci (MTL); Lodderomyces elongisporus lacks MTL, and components of the a1/2 cell identity determinant were lost in other species, raising questions about how mating and cell types are controlled. Analysis of the CUG leucine-to-serine genetic-code change reveals that 99% of ancestral CUG codons were erased and new ones arose elsewhere. Lastly, we revise the Candida albicans gene catalogue, identifying many new genes.
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Phylogenetic diversity of stress signalling pathways in fungi.
BMC Evol. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 02-21-2009
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Microbes must sense environmental stresses, transduce these signals and mount protective responses to survive in hostile environments. In this study we have tested the hypothesis that fungal stress signalling pathways have evolved rapidly in a niche-specific fashion that is independent of phylogeny. To test this hypothesis we have compared the conservation of stress signalling molecules in diverse fungal species with their stress resistance. These fungi, which include ascomycetes, basidiomycetes and microsporidia, occupy highly divergent niches from saline environments to plant or mammalian hosts.
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Genome-wide analysis of Candida albicans gene expression patterns during infection of the mammalian kidney.
Fungal Genet. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 02-20-2009
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Global analysis of the molecular responses of microbial pathogens to their mammalian hosts represents a major challenge. To date few microarray studies have been performed on Candida albicans cells derived from infected tissues. In this study we examined the C. albicans SC5314 transcriptome from renal infections in the rabbit. Genes involved in adhesion, stress adaptation and the assimilation of alternative carbon sources were up-regulated in these cells compared with control cells grown in RPMI 1640, whereas genes involved in morphogenesis, fermentation and translation were down-regulated. When we compared the congenic virulent C. albicans strains NGY152 and SC5314, there was minimal overlap between their transcriptomes during kidney infections. This suggests that much of the gene regulation observed during infections is not essential for virulence. Indeed, we observed a poor correlation between the transcriptome and phenome for those genes that were regulated during kidney infection and that have been virulence tested.
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Proteomic and phenotypic profiling of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis shows that genotype is linked to virulence.
Mol. Ecol.
PUBLISHED: 01-24-2009
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Population genetics of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) show that isolates are highly related and globally homogenous, data that are consistent with the recent epidemic spread of a previously endemic organism. Highly related isolates are predicted to be functionally similar due to low levels of heritable genetic diversity. To test this hypothesis, we took a global panel of Bd isolates and measured (i) the genetic relatedness among isolates, (ii) proteomic profiles of isolates, (iii) the susceptibility of isolates to the antifungal drug caspofungin, (iv) the variation among isolates in growth and phenotypic characteristics, and (v) the virulence of isolates against the European common toad Bufo bufo. Our results show (i) genotypic differentiation among isolates, (ii) proteomic differentiation among isolates, (iii) no significant differences in susceptibility to caspofungin, (iv) differentiation in growth and phenotypic/morphological characters, and (v) differential virulence in B. bufo. Specifically, our data show that Bd isolates can be profiled by their genotypic and proteomic characteristics, as well as by the size of their sporangia. Bd genotypic and phenotypic distance matrices are significantly correlated, showing that less-related isolates are more biologically unique. Mass spectrometry has identified a set of candidate genes associated with inter-isolate variation. Our data show that, despite its rapid global emergence, Bd isolates are not identical and differ in several important characters that are linked to virulence. We argue that future studies need to clarify the mechanism(s) and rate at which Bd is evolving, and the impact that such variation has on the host-pathogen dynamic.
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Property differences among the four major Candida albicans strain clades.
Eukaryotic Cell
PUBLISHED: 01-16-2009
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A selection of 43 Candida albicans isolates, chosen to represent the four major strain clades of the species and also intraclade diversity, was screened for their virulence in the murine intravenous challenge model of C. albicans infection, for a range of properties measurable in vitro that might relate to virulence, and for the numbers of midrepeat sequences in genes of the ALS and HYR families. Heterozygosity at the mating type locus and low whole-cell acid phosphatase activity and growth rate at 40 degrees C were found to be significantly positively associated with the most virulent isolates. Acid phosphatase activity and growth in 2 M NaCl were statistically significant variables between clades by univariate analysis. Isolates in different clades also differed significantly in midrepeat sequence alleles of ALS2, ALS4, ALS6, ALS7, ALS9, HYR1, and HYR2. There was no association between the midrepeat alleles of any ALS or HYR gene and the virulence of isolates to mice. Genome-wide transcript profiles of 20 isolates (5 per clade) grown under two conditions showed considerable variation between individual isolates, but only a small number of genes showed statistically significant differential gene expression between clades. Analysis of the expression profiles by overall strain virulence revealed 18 open reading frames differing significantly between isolates of high, intermediate, and low virulence. Four of these genes encoded functions related to phosphate uptake and metabolism. This finding and the significant association between whole-cell acid phosphatase activity and virulence led us to disrupt PHO100, which encodes a predicted periplasmic acid phosphatase. The pho100Delta mutant was mildly but significantly attenuated in terms of survival curves in the mouse model. The study has extended the range of properties known to differ between C. albicans clades and suggests a possible but minor role of phosphate metabolism in the virulence of the species.
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Hsp90 orchestrates transcriptional regulation by Hsf1 and cell wall remodelling by MAPK signalling during thermal adaptation in a pathogenic yeast.
PLoS Pathog.
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Thermal adaptation is essential in all organisms. In yeasts, the heat shock response is commanded by the heat shock transcription factor Hsf1. Here we have integrated unbiased genetic screens with directed molecular dissection to demonstrate that multiple signalling cascades contribute to thermal adaptation in the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. We show that the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) interacts with and down-regulates Hsf1 thereby modulating short term thermal adaptation. In the longer term, thermal adaptation depends on key MAP kinase signalling pathways that are associated with cell wall remodelling: the Hog1, Mkc1 and Cek1 pathways. We demonstrate that these pathways are differentially activated and display cross talk during heat shock. As a result ambient temperature significantly affects the resistance of C. albicans cells to cell wall stresses (Calcofluor White and Congo Red), but not osmotic stress (NaCl). We also show that the inactivation of MAP kinase signalling disrupts this cross talk between thermal and cell wall adaptation. Critically, Hsp90 coordinates this cross talk. Genetic and pharmacological inhibition of Hsp90 disrupts the Hsf1-Hsp90 regulatory circuit thereby disturbing HSP gene regulation and reducing the resistance of C. albicans to proteotoxic stresses. Hsp90 depletion also affects cell wall biogenesis by impairing the activation of its client proteins Mkc1 and Hog1, as well as Cek1, which we implicate as a new Hsp90 client in this study. Therefore Hsp90 modulates the short term Hsf1-mediated activation of the classic heat shock response, coordinating this response with long term thermal adaptation via Mkc1- Hog1- and Cek1-mediated cell wall remodelling.
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Cellular responses of Candida albicans to phagocytosis and the extracellular activities of neutrophils are critical to counteract carbohydrate starvation, oxidative and nitrosative stress.
PLoS ONE
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Neutrophils are key players during Candida albicans infection. However, the relative contributions of neutrophil activities to fungal clearance and the relative importance of the fungal responses that counteract these activities remain unclear. We studied the contributions of the intra- and extracellular antifungal activities of human neutrophils using diagnostic Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)-marked C. albicans strains. We found that a carbohydrate starvation response, as indicated by up-regulation of glyoxylate cycle genes, was only induced upon phagocytosis of the fungus. Similarly, the nitrosative stress response was only observed in internalised fungal cells. In contrast, the response to oxidative stress was observed in both phagocytosed and non-phagocytosed fungal cells, indicating that oxidative stress is imposed both intra- and extracellularly. We assessed the contributions of carbohydrate starvation, oxidative and nitrosative stress as antifungal activities by analysing the resistance to neutrophil killing of C. albicans mutants lacking key glyoxylate cycle, oxidative and nitrosative stress genes. We found that the glyoxylate cycle plays a crucial role in fungal resistance against neutrophils. The inability to respond to oxidative stress (in cells lacking superoxide dismutase 5 or glutathione reductase 2) renders C. albicans susceptible to neutrophil killing, due to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We also show that neutrophil-derived nitric oxide is crucial for the killing of C. albicans: a yhb1?/? mutant, unable to detoxify NO•, was more susceptible to neutrophils, and this phenotype was rescued by the nitric oxide scavenger carboxy-PTIO. The stress responses of C. albicans to neutrophils are partially regulated via the stress regulator Hog1 since a hog1?/? mutant was clearly less resistant to neutrophils and unable to respond properly to neutrophil-derived attack. Our data indicate that an appropriate fungal response to all three antifungal activities, carbohydrate starvation, nitrosative stress and oxidative stress, is essential for full wild type resistance to neutrophils.
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Nursing accounting competencies related to HIV in a Papua New Guinea context.
J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care
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Nursing administration is an important part of the campaign to eliminate HIV across Papua New Guinea (PNG). This paper considers the critical importance of developing nursing leadership in effective accounting competencies in relation to HIV projects in PNG. The results of the studys textual analysis of audit reports of the Auditor General of PNG revealed a failure on the part of PNGs main health agencies involved with its national HIV program to provide competent financial reporting. In light of these results, this study shows how improving accounting and other financial competencies among nursing leaders would benefit the implementation of the PNG HIV national strategy. The findings of this study have implications not only for the internal control of HIV nursing competencies but also for nursing leadership related to HIV issues in a developing-country context.
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The evolutionary rewiring of ubiquitination targets has reprogrammed the regulation of carbon assimilation in the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans.
MBio
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Microbes must assimilate carbon to grow and colonize their niches. Transcript profiling has suggested that Candida albicans, a major pathogen of humans, regulates its carbon assimilation in an analogous fashion to the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, repressing metabolic pathways required for the use of alterative nonpreferred carbon sources when sugars are available. However, we show that there is significant dislocation between the proteome and transcriptome in C. albicans. Glucose triggers the degradation of the ICL1 and PCK1 transcripts in C. albicans, yet isocitrate lyase (Icl1) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (Pck1) are stable and are retained. Indeed, numerous enzymes required for the assimilation of carboxylic and fatty acids are not degraded in response to glucose. However, when expressed in C. albicans, S. cerevisiae Icl1 (ScIcl1) is subjected to glucose-accelerated degradation, indicating that like S. cerevisiae, this pathogen has the molecular apparatus required to execute ubiquitin-dependent catabolite inactivation. C. albicans Icl1 (CaIcl1) lacks analogous ubiquitination sites and is stable under these conditions, but the addition of a ubiquitination site programs glucose-accelerated degradation of CaIcl1. Also, catabolite inactivation is slowed in C. albicans ubi4 cells. Ubiquitination sites are present in gluconeogenic and glyoxylate cycle enzymes from S. cerevisiae but absent from their C. albicans homologues. We conclude that evolutionary rewiring of ubiquitination targets has meant that following glucose exposure, C. albicans retains key metabolic functions, allowing it to continue to assimilate alternative carbon sources. This metabolic flexibility may be critical during infection, facilitating the rapid colonization of dynamic host niches containing complex arrays of nutrients. IMPORTANCE Pathogenic microbes must assimilate a range of carbon sources to grow and colonize their hosts. Current views about carbon assimilation in the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans are strongly influenced by the Saccharomyces cerevisiae paradigm in which cells faced with choices of nutrients first use energetically favorable sugars, degrading enzymes required for the assimilation of less favorable alternative carbon sources. We show that this is not the case in C. albicans because there has been significant evolutionary rewiring of the molecular signals that promote enzyme degradation in response to glucose. As a result, this major pathogen of humans retains enzymes required for the utilization of physiologically relevant carbon sources such as lactic acid and fatty acids, allowing it to continue to use these host nutrients even when glucose is available. This phenomenon probably enhances efficient colonization of host niches where sugars are only transiently available.
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Growth of Candida albicans cells on the physiologically relevant carbon source lactate affects their recognition and phagocytosis by immune cells.
Infect. Immun.
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Candida albicans is a normal resident of the human gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts and also a prevalent fungal pathogen. During both commensalism and infection, it must match the immunological defenses of its host while adapting to environmental cues and the local nutrient status. C. albicans regularly colonizes glucose-poor niches, thereby depending upon alternative carbon sources for growth. However, most studies of host immune responses to C. albicans have been performed on fungal cells grown on glucose, and the extent to which alternative physiologically relevant carbon sources impact innate immune responses has not been studied. The fungal cell wall is decorated with multifarious pathogen-associated molecular patterns and is the main target for recognition by host innate immune cells. Cell wall architecture is both robust and dynamic, and it is dramatically influenced by growth conditions. We found that growth of C. albicans cells on lactate, a nonfermentative carbon source available in numerous anatomical niches, modulates their interactions with immune cells and the resultant cytokine profile. Notably, lactate-grown C. albicans stimulated interleukin-10 (IL-10) production while decreasing IL-17 levels, rendering these cells less visible to the immune system than were glucose-grown cells. This trend was observed in clinical C. albicans isolates from different host niches and from different epidemiological clades. In addition, lactate-grown C. albicans cells were taken up by macrophages less efficiently, but they were more efficient at killing and escaping these phagocytic cells. Our data indicate that carbon source has a major impact upon the C. albicans interaction with the innate immune system.
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Carbon source-induced reprogramming of the cell wall proteome and secretome modulates the adherence and drug resistance of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans.
Proteomics
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The major fungal pathogen Candida albicans can occupy diverse microenvironments in its human host. During colonization of the gastrointestinal or urogenital tracts, mucosal surfaces, bloodstream, and internal organs, C. albicans thrives in niches that differ with respect to available nutrients and local environmental stresses. Although most studies are performed on glucose-grown cells, changes in carbon source dramatically affect cell wall architecture, stress responses, and drug resistance. We show that growth on the physiologically relevant carboxylic acid, lactate, has a significant impact on the C. albicans cell wall proteome and secretome. The regulation of cell wall structural proteins (e.g. Cht1, Phr1, Phr2, Pir1) correlated with extensive cell wall remodeling in lactate-grown cells and with their increased resistance to stresses and antifungal drugs, compared with glucose-grown cells. Moreover, changes in other proteins (e.g. Als2, Gca1, Phr1, Sap9) correlated with the increased adherence and biofilm formation of lactate-grown cells. We identified mating and pheromone-regulated proteins that were exclusive to lactate-grown cells (e.g. Op4, Pga31, Pry1, Scw4, Yps7) as well as mucosa-specific and other niche-specific factors such as Lip4, Pga4, Plb5, and Sap7. The analysis of the corresponding null mutants confirmed that many of these proteins contribute to C. albicans adherence, stress, and antifungal drug resistance. Therefore, the cell wall proteome and secretome display considerable plasticity in response to carbon source. This plasticity influences important fitness and virulence attributes known to modulate the behavior of C. albicans in different host microenvironments during infection.
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Fungal Hsp90: a biological transistor that tunes cellular outputs to thermal inputs.
Nat. Rev. Microbiol.
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Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) is an essential, abundant and ubiquitous eukaryotic chaperone that has crucial roles in protein folding and modulates the activities of key regulators. The fungal Hsp90 interactome, which includes numerous client proteins such as receptors, protein kinases and transcription factors, displays a surprisingly high degree of plasticity that depends on environmental conditions. Furthermore, although fungal Hsp90 levels increase following environmental challenges, Hsp90 activity is tightly controlled via post-translational regulation and an autoregulatory loop involving heat shock transcription factor 1 (Hsf1). In this Review, we discuss the roles and regulation of fungal Hsp90. We propose that Hsp90 acts as a biological transistor that modulates the activity of fungal signalling networks in response to environmental cues via this Hsf1-Hsp90 autoregulatory loop.
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Small but crucial: the novel small heat shock protein Hsp21 mediates stress adaptation and virulence in Candida albicans.
PLoS ONE
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Small heat shock proteins (sHsps) have multiple cellular functions. However, the biological function of sHsps in pathogenic microorganisms is largely unknown. In the present study we identified and characterized the novel sHsp Hsp21 of the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans. Using a reverse genetics approach we demonstrate the importance of Hsp21 for resistance of C. albicans to specific stresses, including thermal and oxidative stress. Furthermore, a hsp21?/? mutant was defective in invasive growth and formed significantly shorter filaments compared to the wild type under various filament-inducing conditions. Although adhesion to and invasion into human-derived endothelial and oral epithelial cells was unaltered, the hsp21?/? mutant exhibited a strongly reduced capacity to damage both cell lines. Furthermore, Hsp21 was required for resisting killing by human neutrophils. Measurements of intracellular levels of stress protective molecules demonstrated that Hsp21 is involved in both glycerol and glycogen regulation and plays a major role in trehalose homeostasis in response to elevated temperatures. Mutants defective in trehalose and, to a lesser extent, glycerol synthesis phenocopied HSP21 deletion in terms of increased susceptibility to environmental stress, strongly impaired capacity to damage epithelial cells and increased sensitivity to the killing activities of human primary neutrophils. Via systematic analysis of the three main C. albicans stress-responsive kinases (Mkc1, Cek1, Hog1) under a range of stressors, we demonstrate Hsp21-dependent phosphorylation of Cek1 in response to elevated temperatures. Finally, the hsp21?/? mutant displayed strongly attenuated virulence in two in vivo infection models. Taken together, Hsp21 mediates adaptation to specific stresses via fine-tuning homeostasis of compatible solutes and activation of the Cek1 pathway, and is crucial for multiple stages of C. albicans pathogenicity. Hsp21 therefore represents the first reported example of a small heat shock protein functioning as a virulence factor in a eukaryotic pathogen.
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A systems biology analysis of long and short-term memories of osmotic stress adaptation in fungi.
BMC Res Notes
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Saccharomyces cerevisiae senses hyperosmotic conditions via the HOG signaling network that activates the stress-activated protein kinase, Hog1, and modulates metabolic fluxes and gene expression to generate appropriate adaptive responses. The integral control mechanism by which Hog1 modulates glycerol production remains uncharacterized. An additional Hog1-independent mechanism retains intracellular glycerol for adaptation. Candida albicans also adapts to hyperosmolarity via a HOG signaling network. However, it remains unknown whether Hog1 exerts integral or proportional control over glycerol production in C. albicans.
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Host carbon sources modulate cell wall architecture, drug resistance and virulence in a fungal pathogen.
Cell. Microbiol.
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The survival of all microbes depends upon their ability to respond to environmental challenges. To establish infection, pathogens such as Candida albicans must mount effective stress responses to counter host defences while adapting to dynamic changes in nutrient status within host niches. Studies of C.?albicans stress adaptation have generally been performed on glucose-grown cells, leaving the effects of alternative carbon sources upon stress resistance largely unexplored. We have shown that growth on alternative carbon sources, such as lactate, strongly influence the resistance of C.?albicans to antifungal drugs, osmotic and cell wall stresses. Similar trends were observed in clinical isolates and other pathogenic Candida species. The increased stress resistance of C.?albicans was not dependent on key stress (Hog1) and cell integrity (Mkc1) signalling pathways. Instead, increased stress resistance was promoted by major changes in the architecture and biophysical properties of the cell wall. Glucose- and lactate-grown cells displayed significant differences in cell wall mass, ultrastructure, elasticity and adhesion. Changes in carbon source also altered the virulence of C.?albicans in models of systemic candidiasis and vaginitis, confirming the importance of alternative carbon sources within host niches during C.?albicans infections.
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Combinatorial stresses kill pathogenic Candida species.
Med. Mycol.
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Pathogenic microbes exist in dynamic niches and have evolved robust adaptive responses to promote survival in their hosts. The major fungal pathogens of humans, Candida albicans and Candida glabrata, are exposed to a range of environmental stresses in their hosts including osmotic, oxidative and nitrosative stresses. Significant efforts have been devoted to the characterization of the adaptive responses to each of these stresses. In the wild, cells are frequently exposed simultaneously to combinations of these stresses and yet the effects of such combinatorial stresses have not been explored. We have developed a common experimental platform to facilitate the comparison of combinatorial stress responses in C. glabrata and C. albicans. This platform is based on the growth of cells in buffered rich medium at 30°C, and was used to define relatively low, medium and high doses of osmotic (NaCl), oxidative (H(2)O(2)) and nitrosative stresses (e.g., dipropylenetriamine (DPTA)-NONOate). The effects of combinatorial stresses were compared with the corresponding individual stresses under these growth conditions. We show for the first time that certain combinations of combinatorial stress are especially potent in terms of their ability to kill C. albicans and C. glabrata and/or inhibit their growth. This was the case for combinations of osmotic plus oxidative stress and for oxidative plus nitrosative stress. We predict that combinatorial stresses may be highly significant in host defences against these pathogenic yeasts.
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