The adhesive phenotype of Candida albicans contributes to its ability to colonize the host and cause disease. Als proteins are one of the most widely studied C. albicans virulence attributes; deletion of ALS3 produces the greatest reduction in adhesive function. Although adhesive activity is thought to reside within the N-terminal domain of Als proteins (NT-Als), the molecular mechanism of adhesion remains unclear. We designed mutations in NT-Als3 that test the contribution of the peptide-binding cavity (PBC) to C. albicans adhesion and assessed the adhesive properties of other NT-Als3 features in the absence of a functional PBC. Structural analysis of purified loss-of-PBC-function mutant proteins showed that the mutations did not alter the overall structure or surface properties of NT-Als3. The mutations were incorporated into full-length ALS3 and integrated into the ALS3 locus of a deletion mutant, under control of the native ALS3 promoter. The PBC mutant phenotype was evaluated in assays using monolayers of human pharyngeal epithelial and umbilical vein endothelial cells, and freshly collected human buccal epithelial cells in suspension. Loss of PBC function resulted in an adhesion phenotype that was indistinguishable from the ?als3/?als3 strain. The adhesive contribution of the Als3 amyloid-forming-region (AFR) was also tested using these methods. C. albicans strains producing cell surface Als3 in which the amyloidogenic potential was destroyed showed little contribution of the AFR to adhesion, instead suggesting an aggregative function for the AFR. Collectively, these results demonstrate the essential and principal role of the PBC in Als3 adhesion.
Pigs from a variety of sources were surveyed for oro-gastrointestinal (oro-GIT) carriage of Candida albicans. Candida albicans-positive animals were readily located, but we also identified C. albicans-free pigs. We hypothesized that pigs could be stably colonized with a C. albicans strain of choice, simply by feeding yeast cells. Piglets were farrowed routinely and remained with the sow for 4 days to acquire a normal microbiota. Piglets were then placed in an artificial rearing environment and fed sow milk replacer. Piglets were inoculated orally with one of three different C. albicans strains. Piglets were weighed daily, and culture swabs were collected to detect C. albicans orally, rectally and in the piglet's environment. Stable C. albicans colonization over the course of the study did not affect piglet growth. Necropsy revealed mucosally associated C. albicans throughout the oro-GIT with the highest abundance in the esophagus. Uninoculated control piglets remained C. albicans-negative. These data establish the piglet as a model to study C. albicans colonization of the human oro-GIT. Similarities between oro-GIT colonization in humans and pigs, as well as the ease of working with the piglet model, suggest its adaptability for use among investigators interested in understanding C. albicans-host commensal interactions.
C. albicans binds various bacteria, including the oral commensal Streptococcus gordonii. Published reports documented the role of C. albicans Als3 and S. gordonii SspB in this interaction, and the importance of the Als N-terminal domain (NT-Als) in C. albicans adhesion. Here, we demonstrate that Als1 also binds S. gordonii. We also describe use of the NT-Als crystal structure to design mutations that precisely disrupt peptide-binding cavity (PBC) or amyloid-forming region (AFR) function in Als3. C. albicans displaying Als3 PBC mutant proteins showed significantly reduced binding to S. gordonii; mutation of the AFR did not affect the interaction. These observations present an enigma: the Als PBC binds free C termini of ligands, but the SspB C terminus is covalently linked to peptidoglycan and thus unavailable as a ligand. These observations and the predicted SspB elongated structure suggest that partial proteolysis of streptococcal cell wall proteins is necessary for recognition by Als adhesins.
The Candida albicans agglutinin-like sequence (ALS) family encodes large cell surface glycoproteins that function in adhesion of the fungus to host and abiotic surfaces. Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for each Als protein were developed to study Als localization on the C. albicans surface. An anti-Als4 mAb demonstrated that Als4 covers the surface of yeast cells, with a greater abundance of Als4 on cells grown at 30 °C compared to 37 °C. On germ tubes, Als4 is localized in a restricted area proximal to the mother yeast. Immunolabeling with several anti-Als mAbs showed overlapping localization of Als1 and Als4 on yeast cells and Als1, Als3 and Als4 on germ tubes. Overlapping localization of Als proteins was also observed on yeast and hyphae recovered from mouse models of disseminated and oral candidiasis. Differences between Als localization in vivo and in vitro suggested changes in regulation of Als production in the host compared to the culture flask. Characterization with the anti-Als mAbs reveals the simultaneous presence and differences in relative abundance of Als proteins, creating an accurate image of Als representation and localization that can be used to guide conclusions regarding individual and collective Als protein function.
Candida albicans is the most prevalent fungal pathogen in humans and a major source of life-threatening nosocomial infections. The Als (agglutinin-like sequence) glycoproteins are an important virulence factor for this fungus and have been associated with binding of host-cell surface proteins and small peptides of random sequence, the formation of biofilms and amyloid fibers. High-resolution structures of N-terminal Als adhesins (NT-Als; up to 314 amino acids) show that ligand recognition relies on a motif capable of binding flexible C termini of peptides in extended conformation. Central to this mechanism is an invariant lysine that recognizes the C-terminal carboxylate of ligands at the end of a deep-binding cavity. In addition to several protein-peptide interactions, a network of water molecules runs parallel to one side of the ligand and contributes to the recognition of diverse peptide sequences. These data establish NT-Als adhesins as a separate family of peptide-binding proteins and an unexpected adhesion system for primary, widespread protein-protein interactions at the Candida/host-cell interface.
The Candida albicans ALS family has eight genetic loci, each encoding a large glycoprotein. Als protein function is discussed most frequently in terms of adhesion to host and abiotic surfaces. Analyses of C. albicans strain WO-1 indicated variation within the ALS1 locus compared with other isolates such as SC5314. Investigation revealed a recombination between the contiguous ALS5 and ALS1 loci to generate a new coding region, named ALS51, because it encodes the 5 domain of ALS5 fused in-frame to the tandem repeat region and 3 domain of ALS1. ALS51 was detected in 11 isolates (4.6%) from a collection of 239 C. albicans strains of diverse origin and clade assignment. The 12 ALS51-positive strains identified in this study represented three different ALS family genotypes with respect to the presence and copy number of ALS51, ALS5 and ALS1. ALS51 transcription was detected by real-time reverse-transcription-PCR in WO-1. Although the cell-surface abundance of Als51 on WO-1 and Als5 on SC5314 was too low to visualize by indirect immunofluorescence using an anti-Als5 monoclonal antibody, both proteins were observed on Western blots of ?-1,6-glucanase-digested C. albicans cell walls. Characterization of ALS51 illustrates one of the recombination mechanisms that generate diversity within C. albicans gene families.
Despite an abundance of data describing expression of genes in the Candida albicans ALS (agglutinin-like sequence) gene family, little is known about the production of Als proteins on individual cells, their spatial localization or stability. Als proteins are most commonly discussed with respect to function in adhesion of C. albicans to host and abiotic surfaces. Development of a mAb specific for Als1, one of the eight large glycoproteins encoded by the ALS family, provided the opportunity to detect Als1 during growth of yeast and hyphae, both in vitro and in vivo, and to demonstrate the utility of the mAb in blocking C. albicans adhesion to host cells. Although most C. albicans yeast cells in a saturated culture are Als1-negative by indirect immunofluorescence, Als1 is detected on the surface of nearly all cells shortly after transfer into fresh growth medium. Als1 covers the yeast cell surface, with the exception of bud scars. Daughters of the inoculum cells, and sometimes granddaughters, also have detectable Als1, but Als1 is not detectable on cells from subsequent generations. On germ tubes and hyphae, most Als1 is localized proximal to the mother yeast. Once deposited on yeasts or hyphae, Als1 persists long after the culture has reached saturation. Growth stage-dependent production of Als1, coupled with its persistence on the cell surface, results in a heterogeneous population of cells within a C. albicans culture. Anti-Als1 immunolabelling patterns vary depending on the source of the C. albicans cells, with obvious differences between cells recovered from culture and those from a murine model of disseminated candidiasis. Results from this work highlight the temporal parallels for ALS1 expression and Als1 production in yeasts and germ tubes, the specialized spatial localization and persistence of Als1 on the C. albicans cell surface, and the differences in Als1 localization that occur in vitro and in vivo.
Due to their predatory nature, raptor species may serve as important indicators of environmental contamination with antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Raptors prey on small rodents and birds that have diverse habitat ranges, including urban and rural environments, and their intestinal microflora can reflect that of the animals on which they feed. Enterococcus spp. were selected as target organisms because they have been isolated from the avian gastrointestinal tract, can be conferred by prey items, and because they are capable of multiple resistance patterns. They are also a concerning source of human antimicrobial resistance. In this study fecal cultures were obtained from 15 May 2004 to 31 August 2004, from 21 free-living raptors and four captive raptors. Enterococcus was isolated from 21 (84%) of the 25 birds, and 54 isolates were chosen for further study based upon unique colony morphology. The most common isolate recovered was Enterococcus faecalis (95%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 89-100). One bird in the study was determined to have Enterococcus gallinarum. Two distinct ribotypes of E. faecalis were identified, one with unique bands at 11 and 13 kb and the other with unique bands at 14 and 20 kb. Both ribotypes were found in free-living and captive birds. The Enterococcus isolates in this study demonstrated a variety of antimicrobial-resistance characteristics, including almost complete resistance to amikacin, first-generation cephalosporins, spectinomycin, and sulphadimethoxime. Isolates demonstrated variable resistance to chloramphenicol, gentamicin, enrofloxacin, erythromycin, and ticarcillin. No phenotypically vancomycin-resistant E. faecalis isolates were recovered from any of the raptors; three isolates had intermediate level susceptibility. A significantly higher number of isolates collected from captive birds demonstrated resistance to chloramphenicol than those obtained from free-living birds. This trend was not duplicated with any of the remaining 18 antimicrobial drugs tested. The results of this study suggest that raptors in central Illinois are coming into contact with antimicrobials, prey exposed to antimicrobials, or bacteria that are capable of transferring resistance genes. Further study is needed to determine the source of antimicrobial-resistant Enterococcus in free-living raptors but the limited data reflecting few differences between birds with and without antimicrobial exposure suggests that treatment and release of treated wild raptors is not contributing significantly to antimicrobial resistance in the environment.
Two monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) were raised against the Candida albicans cell-surface glycoprotein Als3 using the N-terminal domain of the protein as the immunogen. ELISA was used to demonstrate the specificity of the MAbs for the Als3 fragment, but not for the corresponding N-terminal domain fragments from other proteins in the Als family. The anti-Als3 MAbs immunolabeled the surface of germ tubes from a diverse collection of wild-type C. albicans isolates, but did not label yeast cells, an als3Delta/als3Delta deletion mutant strain, nor isolates of other Candida species associated with human disease. Als3 was visualized readily in fresh and formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded kidney tissue from a murine model of candidiasis. The anti-Als3 MAbs were also useful for immunogold electron microscopy and Western blotting. Both MAbs blocked C. albicans adhesion to vascular endothelial cells and buccal epithelial cells. These versatile MAbs are a valuable addition to the reagents available to study C. albicans cell surface dynamics and interaction of the fungus with host cells.
Monoclonal antibody 3D9.3 (MAb 3D9.3) reacts with the surface of Candida albicans germ tubes and recognizes a protein epitope. We used a two-step chromatography procedure to purify and identify the antigen (3D9) from C. albicans strain 66396 germ tubes. MAb 3D9.3 recognized two intense protein bands at 140 and 180 kDa. A comparative analysis between theoretical and experimental mass spectrum peaks showed that both bands corresponded to Als3. This conclusion was supported by lack of reactivity between MAb 3D9.3 and an als3Delta/als3Delta mutant strain, and the fact that an immunoglobulin preparation enriched for Als3 specificity recognized the purified 3D9 antigen. PCR demonstrated that C. albicans strain 66396 has two different-sized ALS3 alleles that correspond to the two purified protein bands. Strain- and species-specificity of the 3D9 epitope were studied with various C. albicans strains and Candida species, such as closely related Candida dubliniensis. The 3D9 epitope was detected only in C. albicans, demonstrating the utility of MAb 3D9.3 for differentiation between C. albicans and C. dubliniensis. Adhesion assays demonstrated that MAb 3D9.3 blocks adhesion of C. albicans germ tubes to human buccal epithelial cells and vascular endothelial cells.
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.
Recent culture-independent studies have revealed that a healthy vaginal ecosystem harbors a surprisingly complex assemblage of microorganisms. However, the spatial distribution and composition of vaginal microbial populations have not been investigated using molecular methods. Here, we evaluated site-specific microbial composition within the vaginal ecosystem and examined the influence of sampling technique in detection of the vaginal microbiota. 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were prepared from samples obtained from different locations (cervix, fornix, outer vaginal canal) and by different methods (swabbing, scraping, lavaging) from the vaginal tracts of eight clinically healthy, asymptomatic women. The data reveal that the vaginal microbiota is not homogenous throughout the vaginal tract but differs significantly within an individual with regard to anatomical site and sampling method used. Thus, this study illuminates the complex structure of the vaginal ecosystem and calls for the consideration of microenvironments when sampling vaginal microbiota as a clinical predictor of vaginal health.
The bacterium Staphylococcus (St.) aureus and the opportunistic fungus Candida albicans are currently among the leading nosocomial pathogens, often co-infecting critically ill patients, with high morbidity and mortality. Previous investigations have demonstrated preferential adherence of St. aureus to C. albicans hyphae during mixed biofilm growth. In this study, we aimed to characterize the mechanism behind this observed interaction. C. albicans adhesin-deficient mutant strains were screened by microscopy to identify the specific receptor on C. albicans hyphae recognized by St. aureus. Furthermore, an immunoassay was developed to validate and quantify staphylococcal binding to fungal biofilms. The findings from these experiments implicated the C. albicans adhesin agglutinin-like sequence 3 (Als3p) in playing a major role in the adherence process. This association was quantitatively established using atomic force microscopy, in which the adhesion force between single cells of the two species was significantly reduced for a C. albicans mutant strain lacking als3. Confocal microscopy further confirmed these observations, as St. aureus overlaid with a purified recombinant Als3 N-terminal domain fragment (rAls3p) exhibited robust binding. Importantly, a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae heterologously expressing Als3p was utilized to further confirm this adhesin as a receptor for St. aureus. Although the parental strain does not bind bacteria, expression of Als3p on the cell surface conferred upon the yeast the ability to strongly bind St. aureus. To elucidate the implications of these in vitro findings in a clinically relevant setting, an ex vivo murine model of co-infection was designed using murine tongue explants. Fluorescent microscopic images revealed extensive hyphal penetration of the epithelium typical of C. albicans mucosal infection. Interestingly, St. aureus bacterial cells were only seen within the epithelial tissue when associated with the invasive hyphae. This differed from tongues infected with St. aureus alone or in conjunction with the als3 mutant strain of C. albicans, where bacterial presence was limited to the outer layers of the oral tissue. Collectively, the findings generated from this study identified a key role for C. albicans Als3p in mediating this clinically relevant fungal-bacterial interaction.
The fungus C. albicans uses adhesins to interact with human epithelial surfaces in the processes of colonization and pathogenesis. The C. albicans ALS (agglutinin-like sequence) gene family encodes eight large cell-surface glycoproteins (Als1-Als7 and Als9) that have adhesive function. This study utilized C. albicans ?als mutant strains to investigate the role of the Als family in oral epithelial cell adhesion and damage, cytokine induction and activation of a MAPK-based (MKP1/c-Fos) signaling pathway that discriminates between yeast and hyphae. Of the eight ?als mutants tested, only the ?als3 strain showed significant reductions in oral epithelial cell adhesion and damage, and cytokine production. High fungal:epithelial cell multiplicities of infection were able to rescue the cell damage and cytokine production phenotypes, demonstrating the importance of fungal burden in mucosal infections. Despite its adhesion, damage and cytokine induction phenotypes, the ?als3 strain induced MKP1 phosphorylation and c-Fos production to a similar extent as control cells. Our data demonstrate that Als3 is involved directly in epithelial adhesion but indirectly in cell damage and cytokine induction, and is not the factor targeted by oral epithelial cells to discriminate between the yeast and hyphal form of C. albicans.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.