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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
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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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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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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MAPKKK-independent regulation of the Hog1 stress-activated protein kinase in Candida albicans.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 10-12-2011
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The Hog1 stress-activated protein kinase regulates both stress responses and morphogenesis in Candida albicans and is essential for the virulence of this major human pathogen. Stress-induced Hog1 phosphorylation is regulated by the upstream MAPKK, Pbs2, which in turn is regulated by the MAPKKK, Ssk2. Here, we have investigated the role of phosphorylation of Hog1 and Pbs2 in Hog1-mediated processes in C. albicans. Mutation of the consensus regulatory phosphorylation sites of Hog1 (Thr-174/Tyr-176) and Pbs2 (Ser-355/Thr-359), to nonphosphorylatable residues, resulted in strains that phenocopied hog1? and pbs2? cells. Consistent with this, stress-induced phosphorylation of Hog1 was abolished in cells expressing nonphosphorylatable Pbs2 (Pbs2(AA)). However, mutation of the consensus sites of Pbs2 to phosphomimetic residues (Pbs2(DD)) failed to constitutively activate Hog1. Furthermore, Ssk2-independent stress-induced Hog1 activation was observed in Pbs2(DD) cells. Collectively, these data reveal a previously uncharacterized MAPKKK-independent mechanism of Hog1 activation in response to stress. Although Pbs2(DD) cells did not exhibit high basal levels of Hog1 phosphorylation, overexpression of an N-terminal truncated form of Ssk2 did result in constitutive Hog1 activation, which was further increased upon stress. Significantly, both Pbs2(AA) and Pbs2(DD) cells displayed impaired stress resistance and attenuated virulence in a mouse model of disease, whereas only Pbs2(AA) cells exhibited the morphological defects associated with loss of Hog1 function. This indicates that Hog1 mediates C. albicans virulence by conferring stress resistance rather than regulating morphogenesis.
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Elevated cell wall chitin in Candida albicans confers echinocandin resistance in vivo.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 10-10-2011
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Candida albicans cells with increased cell wall chitin have reduced echinocandin susceptibility in vitro. The aim of this study was to investigate whether C. albicans cells with elevated chitin levels have reduced echinocandin susceptibility in vivo. BALB/c mice were infected with C. albicans cells with normal chitin levels and compared to mice infected with high-chitin cells. Caspofungin therapy was initiated at 24 h postinfection. Mice infected with chitin-normal cells were successfully treated with caspofungin, as indicated by reduced kidney fungal burdens, reduced weight loss, and decreased C. albicans density in kidney lesions. In contrast, mice infected with high-chitin C. albicans cells were less susceptible to caspofungin, as they had higher kidney fungal burdens and greater weight loss during early infection. Cells recovered from mouse kidneys at 24 h postinfection with high-chitin cells had 1.6-fold higher chitin levels than cells from mice infected with chitin-normal cells and maintained a significantly reduced susceptibility to caspofungin when tested in vitro. At 48 h postinfection, caspofungin treatment induced a further increase in chitin content of C. albicans cells harvested from kidneys compared to saline treatment. Some of the recovered clones had acquired, at a low frequency, a point mutation in FKS1 resulting in a S645Y amino acid substitution, a mutation known to confer echinocandin resistance. This occurred even in cells that had not been exposed to caspofungin. Our results suggest that the efficacy of caspofungin against C. albicans was reduced in vivo due to either elevation of chitin levels in the cell wall or acquisition of FKS1 point mutations.
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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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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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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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An insight into the antifungal pipeline: selected new molecules and beyond.
Nat Rev Drug Discov
PUBLISHED: 08-20-2010
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Invasive fungal infections are increasing in incidence and are associated with substantial mortality. Improved diagnostics and the availability of new antifungals have revolutionized the field of medical mycology in the past decades. This Review focuses on recent developments in the antifungal pipeline, concentrating on promising candidates such as new azoles, polyenes and echinocandins, as well as agents such as nikkomycin Z and the sordarins. Developments in vaccines and antibody-based immunotherapy are also discussed. Few therapeutic products are currently in active development, and progression of therapeutic agents with fungus-specific mechanisms of action is of key importance.
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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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Synthesis and in vitro and in vivo antifungal activity of the hydroxy metabolites of saperconazole.
ChemMedChem
PUBLISHED: 04-10-2010
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Herein we describe the scalable diastereoselective and enantioselective syntheses of eight enantiomers of hydroxy metabolites of saperconazole. The in vitro antifungal activity of the eight stereoisomers (compounds 1-8) was compared against a broad panel of Candida spp. (n=93), Aspergillus spp. (n=10), Cryptococcus spp. (n=19), and dermatophytes (n=27). The four 2S isomers 1-4 of the new agent were generally slightly more active than the four 2R isomers 5-8. All eight isomers were tested in a model of experimental A. fumigatus infection in guinea pigs by intravenous inoculation of the fungal conidia. Treatment doses were 1.25 mg kg(-1) and 2.5 mg kg(-1) per day. Infection severity was measured in terms of mean survival time (MST) after infection and mean tissue burdens in brain, liver, spleen, and kidney at postmortem examination. Among the eight isomers, the 2S diastereomers 1-4 showed a generally higher level of activity than the 2R diastereomers 5-8, revealing compounds 1 and 4 as the most potent overall in eradicating tissue burden and MST. Compared with reference compounds itraconazole and saperconazole, the hydroxy isomers 1-8 are less potent inhibitors of the growth of A. fumigatus in vitro and of ergosterol biosynthesis in both A. fumigatus and C. albicans.
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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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Genetic dissection of azole resistance mechanisms in Candida albicans and their validation in a mouse model of disseminated infection.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 01-19-2010
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Principal mechanisms of resistance to azole antifungals include the upregulation of multidrug transporters and the modification of the target enzyme, a cytochrome P450 (Erg11) involved in the 14alpha-demethylation of ergosterol. These mechanisms are often combined in azole-resistant Candida albicans isolates recovered from patients. However, the precise contributions of individual mechanisms to C. albicans resistance to specific azoles have been difficult to establish because of the technical difficulties in the genetic manipulation of this diploid species. Recent advances have made genetic manipulations easier, and we therefore undertook the genetic dissection of resistance mechanisms in an azole-resistant clinical isolate. This isolate (DSY296) upregulates the multidrug transporter genes CDR1 and CDR2 and has acquired a G464S substitution in both ERG11 alleles. In DSY296, inactivation of TAC1, a transcription factor containing a gain-of-function mutation, followed by sequential replacement of ERG11 mutant alleles with wild-type alleles, restored azole susceptibility to the levels measured for a parent azole-susceptible isolate (DSY294). These sequential genetic manipulations not only demonstrated that these two resistance mechanisms were those responsible for the development of resistance in DSY296 but also indicated that the quantitative level of resistance as measured in vitro by MIC determinations was a function of the number of genetic resistance mechanisms operating in any strain. The engineered strains were also tested for their responses to fluconazole treatment in a novel 3-day model of invasive C. albicans infection of mice. Fifty percent effective doses (ED(50)s) of fluconazole were highest for DSY296 and decreased proportionally with the sequential removal of each resistance mechanism. However, while the fold differences in ED(50) were proportional to the fold differences in MICs, their magnitude was lower than that measured in vitro and depended on the specific resistance mechanism operating.
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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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In Candida albicans, resistance to flucytosine and terbinafine is linked to MAT locus homozygosity and multilocus sequence typing clade 1.
FEMS Yeast Res.
PUBLISHED: 09-07-2009
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A panel of 637 isolates of Candida albicans that had been typed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and tested for susceptibility to amphotericin B, caspofungin, fluconazole, flucytosine, itraconazole, ketoconazole, miconazole, terbinafine and voriconazole was the material for a statistical analysis of possible associations between antifungal susceptibility and other properties. For terbinafine and flucytosine, the greatest proportion of low-susceptibility isolates, judged by two resistance breakpoints, was found in MLST clade 1 and among isolates homozygous at the MAT locus, although only three isolates showed cross-resistance to the two agents. Most instances of low susceptibility to azoles, flucytosine and terbinafine were among oropharyngeal isolates from HIV-positive individuals. Statistically significant correlations were found between terbinafine and azole minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs), while correlations between flucytosine MICs and azole MICs were less strong. It is concluded that a common regulatory mechanism may operate to generate resistance to the two classes of agent that inhibit ergosterol biosynthesis, terbinafine and the azoles, but that flucytosine resistance, although still commonly associated with MAT homozygosity, is differently regulated.
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Pyrosequencing analysis of 20 nucleotides of internal transcribed spacer 2 discriminates Candida parapsilosis, Candida metapsilosis, and Candida orthopsilosis.
J. Clin. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 04-29-2009
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Two new cryptic sister species, Candida orthopsilosis and Candida metapsilosis, were recently identified by consistent DNA sequence differences among several genes within the genetically heterogeneous Candida parapsilosis complex. Here, we present data demonstrating that Pyrosequencing analysis of 20 nucleotides of internal transcribed spacer region 2 rapidly and robustly distinguishes between these three closely related Candida species.
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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 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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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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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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