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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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Novel insights into host-fungal pathogen interactions derived from live-cell imaging.
Semin Immunopathol
PUBLISHED: 08-07-2014
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The theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman outlined in his 1959 lecture, "There's plenty of room at the bottom", the enormous possibility of producing and visualising things at smaller scales. The advent of advanced scanning and transmission electron microscopy and high-resolution microscopy has begun to open the door to visualise host-pathogen interactions at smaller scales, and spinning disc confocal and two-photon microscopy has improved our ability to study these events in real time in three dimensions. The aim of this review is to illustrate some of the advances in understanding host-fungal interactions that have been made in recent years in particular those relating to the interactions of live fungal pathogens with phagocytes. Dynamic imaging of host-pathogen interactions has recently revealed novel detail and unsuspected mechanistic insights, facilitating the dissection of the phagocytic process into its component parts. Here, we will highlight advances in our knowledge of host-fungal pathogen interactions, including the specific effects of fungal cell viability, cell wall composition and morphogenesis on the phagocytic process and try to define the relative contributions of neutrophils and macrophages to the clearance of fungal pathogens in vitro and the infected host.
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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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Modulation of Alternaria infectoria cell wall chitin and glucan synthesis by cell wall synthase inhibitors.
Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.
PUBLISHED: 03-10-2014
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The present work reports the effects of caspofungin, a ?-1,3-glucan synthase inhibitor, and nikkomycin Z, an inhibitor of chitin synthases, on two strains of Alternaria infectoria, a melanized fungus involved in opportunistic human infections and respiratory allergies. One of the strains tested, IMF006, bore phenotypic traits that conferred advantages in resisting antifungal treatment. First, the resting cell wall chitin content was higher and in response to caspofungin, the chitin level remained constant. In the other strain, IMF001, the chitin content increased upon caspofungin treatment to values similar to basal IMF006 levels. Moreover, upon caspofungin treatment, the FKS1 gene was upregulated in IMF006 and downregulated in IMF001. In addition, the resting ?-glucan content was also different in both strains, with higher levels in IMF001 than in IMF006. However, this did not provide any advantage with respect to echinocandin resistance. We identified eight different chitin synthase genes and studied relative gene expression when the fungus was exposed to the antifungals under study. In both strains, exposure to caspofungin and nikkomycin Z led to modulation of the expression of class V and VII chitin synthase genes, suggesting its importance in the robustness of A. infectoria. The pattern of A. infectoria phagocytosis and activation of murine macrophages by spores was not affected by caspofungin. Monotherapy with nikkomycin Z and caspofungin provided only fungistatic inhibition, while a combination of both led to fungal cell lysis, revealing a strong synergistic action between the chitin synthase inhibitor and the ?-glucan synthase inhibitor against this fungus.
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AIDS-related mycoses: the way forward.
Trends Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 03-04-2014
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The contribution of fungal infections to the morbidity and mortality of HIV-infected individuals is largely unrecognized. A recent meeting highlighted several priorities that need to be urgently addressed, including improved epidemiological surveillance, increased availability of existing diagnostics and drugs, more training in the field of medical mycology, and better funding for research and provision of treatment, particularly in developing countries.
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Trained immunity or tolerance: opposing functional programs induced in human monocytes after engagement of various pattern recognition receptors.
Clin. Vaccine Immunol.
PUBLISHED: 02-12-2014
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Upon priming with Candida albicans or with the fungal cell wall component ?-glucan, monocytes respond with an increased cytokine production upon restimulation, a phenomenon termed "trained immunity." In contrast, the prestimulation of monocytes with lipopolysaccharide has long been known to induce tolerance. Because the vast majority of commensal microorganisms belong to bacterial or viral phyla, we sought to systematically investigate the functional reprogramming of monocytes induced by the stimulation of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) with various bacterial or viral ligands. Monocytes were functionally programmed for either enhanced (training) or decreased (tolerance) cytokine production, depending on the type and concentration of ligand they encountered. The functional reprogramming of monocytes was also associated with cell shape, granulocity, and cell surface marker modifications. The training effect required p38- and Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK)-mediated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling, with specific signaling patterns directing the functional fate of the cell. The long-term effects on the function of monocytes were mediated by epigenetic events, with both histone methylation and acetylation inhibitors blocking the training effects. In conclusion, our experiments identify the ability of monocytes to acquire adaptive characteristics after prior activation with a wide variety of ligands. Trained immunity and tolerance are two distinct and opposing functional programs induced by the specific microbial ligands engaging the monocytes.
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Fungal model systems and the elucidation of pathogenicity determinants.
Fungal Genet. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 02-03-2014
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Fungi have the capacity to cause devastating diseases of both plants and animals, causing significant harvest losses that threaten food security and human mycoses with high mortality rates. As a consequence, there is a critical need to promote development of new antifungal drugs, which requires a comprehensive molecular knowledge of fungal pathogenesis. In this review, we critically evaluate current knowledge of seven fungal organisms used as major research models for fungal pathogenesis. These include pathogens of both animals and plants; Ashbya gossypii, Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida albicans, Fusarium oxysporum, Magnaporthe oryzae, Ustilago maydis and Zymoseptoria tritici. We present key insights into the virulence mechanisms deployed by each species and a comparative overview of key insights obtained from genomic analysis. We then consider current trends and future challenges associated with the study of fungal pathogenicity.
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Expansion of Foxp3(+) T-cell populations by Candida albicans enhances both Th17-cell responses and fungal dissemination after intravenous challenge.
Eur. J. Immunol.
PUBLISHED: 01-09-2014
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Candida albicans remains the fungus most frequently associated with nosocomial bloodstream infection. In disseminated candidiasis, the role of Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells remains largely unexplored. Our aims were to characterize Foxp3(+) Treg-cell activation in a murine intravenous challenge model of disseminated C. albicans infection, and determine the contribution to disease. Flow cytometric analyses demonstrated that C. albicans infection drove in vivo expansion of a splenic CD4(+) Foxp3(+) population that correlated positively with fungal burden. Depletion from Foxp3(hCD2) reporter mice in vivo confirmed that Foxp3(+) cells exacerbated fungal burden and inflammatory renal disease. The CD4(+) Foxp3(+) population expanded further after in vitro stimulation with C. albicans antigens (Ags), and included at least three cell types. These arose from proliferation of the natural Treg-cell subset, together with conversion of Foxp3(-) cells to the induced Treg-cell form, and to a cell type sharing effector Th17-cell characteristics, expressing ROR-?t, and secreting IL-17A. The expanded Foxp3(+) T cells inhibited Th1 and Th2 responses, but enhanced Th17-cell responses to C. albicans Ags in vitro, and in vivo depletion confirmed their ability to enhance the Th17-cell response. These data lead to a model for disseminated candidiasis whereby expansion of Foxp3(+) T cells promotes Th17-cell responses that drive pathology.
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Regulation of vectorial supply of vesicles to the hyphal tip determines thigmotropism in Neurospora crassa.
Fungal Biol
PUBLISHED: 01-04-2014
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Thigmotropism is the ability of an organism to respond to a topographical stimulus by altering its axis of growth. The thigmotropic response of the model fungus Neurospora crassa was quantified using microfabricated glass slides with ridges of defined height. We show that the polarity machinery at the hyphal tip plays a role in the thigmotropic response of N. crassa. Deletion of N. crassa genes encoding the formin, BNI-1, and the Rho-GTPase, CDC-42, an activator of BNI-1 in yeast, CDC-24, its guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), and BEM-1, a scaffold protein in the same pathway, were all shown to significantly decrease the thigmotropic response. In contrast, deletion of genes encoding the cell end-marker protein, TEA-1, and KIP-1, the kinesin responsible for the localisation of TEA-1, significantly increased the thigmotropic response. These results suggest a mechanism of thigmotropism involving vesicle delivery to the hyphal tip via the actin cytoskeleton and microtubules. Neurospora crassa thigmotropic response differed subtly from that of Candida albicans where the stretch-activated calcium channel, Mid1, has been linked with thigmotropic behaviour. The MID-1 deficient mutant of N. crassa (?mid-1) and the effects of calcium depletion were examined here but no change in the thigmotropic response was observed. However, SPRAY, a putative calcium channel protein, was shown to be required for N. crassa thigmotropism. We propose that the thigmotropic response is a result of changes in the polarity machinery at the hyphal tip which are thought to be downstream effects of calcium signalling pathways triggered by mechanical stress at the tip.
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Cdc42 GTPase dynamics control directional growth responses.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 01-02-2014
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Polarized cells reorient their direction of growth in response to environmental cues. In the fungus Candida albicans, the Rho-family small GTPase, Cdc42, is essential for polarized hyphal growth and Ca(2+) influx is required for the tropic responses of hyphae to environmental cues, but the regulatory link between these systems is unclear. In this study, the interaction between Ca(2+) influx and Cdc42 polarity-complex dynamics was investigated using hyphal galvanotropic and thigmotropic responses as reporter systems. During polarity establishment in an applied electric field, cathodal emergence of hyphae was lost when either of the two Cdc42 apical recycling pathways was disrupted by deletion of Rdi1, a guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor, or Bnr1, a formin, but was completely restored by extracellular Ca(2+). Loss of the Cdc42 GTPase activating proteins, Rga2 and Bem3, also abolished cathodal polarization, but this was not rescued by Ca(2+). Expression of GTP-locked Cdc42 reversed the polarity of hypha emergence from cathodal to anodal, an effect augmented by Ca(2+). The cathodal directional cue therefore requires Cdc42 GTP hydrolysis. Ca(2+) influx amplifies Cdc42-mediated directional growth signals, in part by augmenting Cdc42 apical trafficking. The Ca(2+)-binding EF-hand motif in Cdc24, the Cdc42 activator, was essential for growth in yeast cells but not in established hyphae. The Cdc24 EF-hand motif is therefore essential for polarity establishment but not for polarity maintenance.
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Hyphal growth of phagocytosed Fusarium oxysporum causes cell lysis and death of murine macrophages.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Fusarium oxysporum is an important plant pathogen and an opportunistic pathogen of humans. Here we investigated phagocytosis of F. oxysporum by J774.1 murine cell line macrophages using live cell video microscopy. Macrophages avidly migrated towards F. oxysporum germlings and were rapidly engulfed after cell-cell contact was established. F. oxysporum germlings continued hyphal growth after engulfment by macrophages, leading to associated macrophage lysis and escape. Macrophage killing depended on the multiplicity of infection. After engulfment, F. oxysporum inhibited macrophages from completing mitosis, resulting in large daughter cells fused together by means of a F. oxysporum hypha. These results shed new light on the initial stages of Fusarium infection and the innate immune response of the mammalian host.
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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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Murine model for Fusarium oxysporum invasive fusariosis reveals organ-specific structures for dissemination and long-term persistence.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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The soil-borne plant pathogen Fusarium oxysporum causes life-threatening invasive fusariosis in immunocompromised individuals. The mechanism of infection in mammalian hosts is largely unknown. In the present study we show that the symptoms of disseminated fusariosis caused by F. oxysporum in immunosuppressed mice are remarkably similar to those reported in humans. Distinct fungal structures were observed inside the host, depending on the infected organ. Invasive hyphae developed in the heart and kidney, causing massive colonization of the organs. By contrast, chlamydospore-like survival structures were found in lung, spleen and liver. Systemically infected mice also developed skin and eye infections, as well as thrombosis and necrosis in the tail. We further show that F. oxysporum can disseminate and persist in the organs of immunocompetent animals, and that these latent infections can lead to lethal systemic fusariosis if the host is later subjected to immunosuppressive treatment.
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The role of Dectin-2 for host defense against systemic infection with Candida glabrata.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 12-16-2013
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Although Candida glabrata is an important pathogenic Candida species, relatively little is known about its innate immune recognition. Here we explore the potential role of Dectin-2 for host defense against C. glabrata. Dectin-2-deficient (Dectin-2(-/-)) mice were found to be more susceptible to C. glabrata infections, showing a defective fungal clearance in kidneys, but not in the liver. The increased susceptibility to infection was accompanied by lower production of T helper 1 (Th1) and Th17-derived cytokines by splenocytes of Dectin-2(-/-) mice, while macrophage-derived cytokines were less affected. These defects were associated with a moderate, yet significant, decreased phagocytosis of the fungus by the Dectin-2(-/-) macrophages and neutrophils. Neutrophils of Dectin-2(-/-) mice also displayed a lower production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) upon challenge with opsonized C. glabrata or C. albicans. This study suggests that Dectin-2 is important in host defense against C. glabrata and provides new insights in the host defense mechanisms against this important fungal pathogen.
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Altered dynamics of Candida albicans phagocytosis by macrophages and PMNs when both phagocyte subsets are present.
MBio
PUBLISHED: 10-31-2013
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An important first line of defense against Candida albicans infections is the killing of fungal cells by professional phagocytes of the innate immune system, such as polymorphonuclear cells (PMNs) and macrophages. In this study, we employed live-cell video microscopy coupled with dynamic image analysis tools to provide insights into the complexity of C. albicans phagocytosis when macrophages and PMNs were incubated with C. albicans alone and when both phagocyte subsets were present. When C. albicans cells were incubated with only one phagocyte subtype, PMNs had a lower overall phagocytic capacity than macrophages, despite engulfing fungal cells at a higher rate once fungal cells were bound to the phagocyte surface. PMNs were more susceptible to C. albicans-mediated killing than macrophages, irrespective of the number of C. albicans cells ingested. In contrast, when both phagocyte subsets were studied in coculture, the two cell types phagocytosed and cleared C. albicans at equal rates and were equally susceptible to killing by the fungus. The increase in macrophage susceptibility to C. albicans-mediated killing was a consequence of macrophages taking up a higher proportion of hyphal cells under these conditions. In the presence of both PMNs and macrophages, C. albicans yeast cells were predominantly cleared by PMNs, which migrated at a greater speed toward fungal cells and engulfed bound cells more rapidly. These observations demonstrate that the phagocytosis of fungal pathogens depends on, and is modified by, the specific phagocyte subsets present at the site of infection.
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Mannosylation in Candida albicans: role in cell wall function and immune recognition.
Mol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 10-08-2013
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The fungal cell wall is a dynamic organelle required for cell shape, protection against the environment and, in pathogenic species, recognition by the innate immune system. The outer layer of the cell wall is comprised of glycosylated mannoproteins with the majority of these post-translational modifications being the addition of O- and N-linked mannosides. These polysaccharides are exposed on the outer surface of the fungal cell wall and are, therefore, the first point of contact between the fungus and the host immune system. This review focuses on O- and N-linked mannan biosynthesis in the fungal pathogen Candida albicans and highlights new insights gained from the characterization of mannosylation mutants into the role of these cell wall components in host-fungus interactions. In addition, we discuss the use of fungal mannan as a diagnostic marker of fungal disease.
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A developmental program for Candida commensalism.
Nat. Genet.
PUBLISHED: 08-30-2013
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Candida albicans is a frequent pathogen of immunologically compromised individuals, but it is an even more common commensal of healthy humans, where it resides in the gut in a benign state. A new study shows that a specific commensal form of the fungus is induced in the gut through a developmental program that downregulates virulence factors and induces metabolic functions, enabling it to thrive on the nutrients that are available in the large intestine without damaging its host.
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Differential virulence of Candida glabrata glycosylation mutants.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 05-28-2013
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The fungus Candida glabrata is an important and increasingly common pathogen of humans, particularly in immunocompromised hosts. Despite this, little is known about the attributes that allow this organism to cause disease or its interaction with the host immune system. However, in common with other fungi, the cell wall of C. glabrata is the initial point of contact between the host and pathogen, and as such, it is likely to play an important role in mediating interactions and hence virulence. Here, we show both through genetic complementation and polysaccharide structural analyses that C. glabrata ANP1, MNN2, and MNN11 encode functional orthologues of the respective Saccharomyces cerevisiae mannosyltransferases. Furthermore, we show that deletion of the C. glabrata Anp1, Mnn2, and Mnn11 mannosyltransferases directly affects the structure of the fungal N-linked mannan, in line with their predicted functions, and this has implications for cell wall integrity and consequently virulence. C. glabrata anp1 and mnn2 mutants showed increased virulence, compared with wild-type (and mnn11) cells. This is in contrast to Candida albicans where inactivation of genes involved in mannan biosynthesis has usually been linked to an attenuation of virulence. In the long term, a better understanding of the attributes that allow C. glabrata to cause disease will provide insights that can be adopted for the development of novel therapeutic and diagnostic approaches.
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Anti-Candida targets and cytotoxicity of casuarinin isolated from Plinia cauliflora leaves in a bioactivity-guided study.
Molecules
PUBLISHED: 05-27-2013
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In addition to the bio-guided investigation of the antifungal activity of Plinia cauliflora leaves against different Candida species, the major aim of the present study was the search for targets on the fungal cell. The most active antifungal fraction was purified by chromatography and characterized by NMR and mass spectrometry. The antifungal activity was evaluated against five Candida strains according to referenced guidelines. Cytotoxicity against fibroblast cells was determined. The likely targets of Candida albicans cells were assessed through interactions with ergosterol and cell wall composition, porosity and architecture. The chemical major component within the most active antifungal fraction of P. cauliflora leaves identified was the hydrolysable tannin casuarinin. The cytotoxic concentration was higher than the antifungal one. The first indication of plant target on cellular integrity was suggested by the antifungal activity ameliorated when using an osmotic support. The most important target for the tannin fraction studied was suggested by ultrastructural analysis of yeast cell walls revealing a denser mannan outer layer and wall porosity reduced. It is possible to imply that P. cauliflora targeted the C. albicans cell wall inducing some changes in the architecture, notably the outer glycoprotein layer, affecting the cell wall porosity without alteration of the polysaccharide or protein level.
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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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Cell wall stress induces alternative fungal cytokinesis and septation strategies.
J. Cell. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 04-19-2013
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In fungi, as with all walled organisms, cytokinesis followed by septation marks the end of the cell cycle and is essential for cell division and viability. For yeasts, the septal cross-wall comprises a ring and primary septal plate composed of chitin, and a secondary septum thickened with ?(1,3)-glucan. In the human pathogen Candida albicans, chitin synthase enzyme Chs1 builds the primary septum that is surrounded by a chitin ring made by Chs3. Here we show that the lethal phenotype induced by repression of CHS1 was abrogated by stress-induced synthesis of alternative and novel septal types synthesized by other chitin synthase enzymes that have never before been implicated in septation. Chs2 and Chs8 formed a functional salvage septum, even in the absence of both Chs1 and Chs3. A second type of salvage septum formed by Chs2 in combination with Chs3 or Chs8 was proximally offset in the mother-bud neck. Chs3 alone or in combination with Chs8 formed a greatly thickened third type of salvage septum. Therefore, cell wall stress induced alternative forms of septation that rescued cell division in the absence of Chs1, demonstrating that fungi have previously unsuspected redundant strategies to enable septation and cell division to be maintained, even under potentially lethal environmental conditions.
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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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Candida albicans primes TLR cytokine responses through a Dectin-1/Raf-1-mediated pathway.
J. Immunol.
PUBLISHED: 03-08-2013
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The immune system is essential to maintain homeostasis with resident microbial populations, ensuring that the symbiotic host-microbial relationship is maintained. In parallel, commensal microbes significantly shape mammalian immunity at the host mucosal surface, as well as systemically. Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen that lives as a commensal on skin and mucosa of healthy individuals. Little is known about its capacity to modulate responses toward other microorganisms, such as colonizing bacteria (e.g., intestinal microorganisms). The aim of this study was to assess the cytokine production of PBMCs induced by commensal bacteria when these cells were primed by C. albicans. We show that C. albicans and ?-1,3-glucan induce priming of human primary mononuclear cells and this leads to enhanced cytokine production upon in vitro stimulation with TLR ligands and bacterial commensals. This priming requires the ?-1,3-glucan receptor dectin-1 and the noncanonical Raf-1 pathway. In addition, although purified mannans cannot solely mediate the priming, the presence of mannosyl residues in the cell wall of C. albicans is nevertheless required. In conclusion, C. albicans is able to modify cytokine responses to TLR ligands and colonizing bacteria, which is likely to impact the inflammatory reaction during mucosal diseases.
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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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Live-cell video microscopy of fungal pathogen phagocytosis.
J Vis Exp
PUBLISHED: 01-19-2013
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Phagocytic clearance of fungal pathogens, and microorganisms more generally, may be considered to consist of four distinct stages: (i) migration of phagocytes to the site where pathogens are located; (ii) recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) through pattern recognition receptors (PRRs); (iii) engulfment of microorganisms bound to the phagocyte cell membrane, and (iv) processing of engulfed cells within maturing phagosomes and digestion of the ingested particle. Studies that assess phagocytosis in its entirety are informative but are limited in that they do not normally break the process down into migration, engulfment and phagosome maturation, which may be affected differentially. Furthermore, such studies assess uptake as a single event, rather than as a continuous dynamic process. We have recently developed advanced live-cell imaging technologies, and have combined these with genetic functional analysis of both pathogen and host cells to create a cross-disciplinary platform for the analysis of innate immune cell function and fungal pathogenesis. These studies have revealed novel aspects of phagocytosis that could only be observed using systematic temporal analysis of the molecular and cellular interactions between human phagocytes and fungal pathogens and infectious microorganisms more generally. For example, we have begun to define the following: (a) the components of the cell surface required for each stage of the process of recognition, engulfment and killing of fungal cells; (b) how surface geometry influences the efficiency of macrophage uptake and killing of yeast and hyphal cells; and how engulfment leads to alteration of the cell cycle and behavior of macrophages. In contrast to single time point snapshots, live-cell video microscopy enables a wide variety of host cells and pathogens to be studied as continuous sequences over lengthy time periods, providing spatial and temporal information on a broad range of dynamic processes, including cell migration, replication and vesicular trafficking. Here we describe in detail how to prepare host and fungal cells, and to conduct the video microscopy experiments. These methods can provide a user-guide for future studies with other phagocytes and microorganisms.
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Cytosolic phospholipase A(2)? and eicosanoids regulate expression of genes in macrophages involved in host defense and inflammation.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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The role of Group IVA cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2?) activation in regulating macrophage transcriptional responses to Candida albicans infection was investigated. cPLA2? releases arachidonic acid for the production of eicosanoids. In mouse resident peritoneal macrophages, prostacyclin, prostaglandin E2 and leukotriene C4 were produced within minutes of C. albicans addition before cyclooxygenase 2 expression. The production of TNF? was lower in C. albicans-stimulated cPLA2?(+/+) than cPLA2?(-/-) macrophages due to an autocrine effect of prostaglandins that increased cAMP to a greater extent in cPLA2?(+/+) than cPLA2?(-/-) macrophages. For global insight, differential gene expression in C. albicans-stimulated cPLA2?(+/+) and cPLA2?(-/-) macrophages (3 h) was compared by microarray. cPLA2?(+/+) macrophages expressed 86 genes at lower levels and 181 genes at higher levels than cPLA2?(-/-) macrophages (?2-fold, p<0.05). Several pro-inflammatory genes were expressed at lower levels (Tnf?, Cx3cl1, Cd40, Ccl5, Csf1, Edn1, CxCr7, Irf1, Irf4, Akna, Ifn?, several IFN?-inducible GTPases). Genes that dampen inflammation (Socs3, Il10, Crem, Stat3, Thbd, Thbs1, Abca1) and genes involved in host defense (Gja1, Csf3, Trem1, Hdc) were expressed at higher levels in cPLA2?(+/+) macrophages. Representative genes expressed lower in cPLA2?(+/+) macrophages (Tnf?, Csf1) were increased by treatment with a prostacyclin receptor antagonist and protein kinase A inhibitor, whereas genes expressed at higher levels (Crem, Nr4a2, Il10, Csf3) were suppressed. The results suggest that C. albicans stimulates an autocrine loop in macrophages involving cPLA2?, cyclooxygenase 1-derived prostaglandins and increased cAMP that globally effects expression of genes involved in host defense and inflammation.
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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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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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Candida albicans cell wall glycosylation may be indirectly required for activation of epithelial cell proinflammatory responses.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 09-19-2011
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Oral epithelial cells discriminate between the yeast and hyphal forms of Candida albicans via the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. This occurs through phosphorylation of the MAPK phosphatase MKP1 and activation of the c-Fos transcription factor by the hyphal form. Given that fungal cell wall polysaccharides are critical in host recognition and immune activation in myeloid cells, we sought to determine whether ?-glucan and N- or O-glycosylation was important in activating the MAPK/MKP1/c-Fos hypha-mediated response mechanism and proinflammatory cytokines in oral epithelial cells. Using a series of ?-glucan and N- and O-mannan mutants, we found that N-mannosylation (via ?och1 and ?pmr1 mutants) and O-mannosylation (via ?pmt1 and ?mnt1 ?mnt2 mutants), but not phosphomannan (via a ?mnn4 mutant) or ?-1,2 mannosylation (via ?bmt1 to ?bmt6 mutants), were required for MKP1/c-Fos activation, proinflammatory cytokine production, and cell damage induction. However, the N- and O-mannan mutants showed reduced adhesion or lack of initial hypha formation at 2 h, resulting in little MKP1/c-Fos activation, or restricted hypha formation/pseudohyphal formation at 24 h, resulting in minimal proinflammatory cytokine production and cell damage. Further, the ?-1,6-mannose backbone of the N-linked outer chain (corresponding to a ?mnn9 mutant) may be required for epithelial adhesion, while the ?-1,2-mannose component of phospholipomannan (corresponding to a ?mit1 mutant) may contribute to epithelial cell damage. ?-Glucan appeared to play no role in adhesion, epithelial activation, or cell damage. In summary, N- and O-mannosylation defects affect the ability of C. albicans to induce proinflammatory cytokines and damage in oral epithelial cells, but this may be due to indirect effects on fungal pathogenicity rather than mannose residues being direct activators of the MAPK/MKP1/c-Fos hypha-mediated immune response.
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Wild-type Drosophila melanogaster as an alternative model system for investigating the pathogenicity of Candida albicans.
Dis Model Mech
PUBLISHED: 05-02-2011
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Candida spp. are opportunistic pathogens in humans, and their systemic infections display upwards of 30% mortality in immunocompromised patients. Current mammalian model systems have certain disadvantages in that obtaining results is time consuming owing to the relatively long life spans and these results have low statistical resolution because sample sizes are usually small. We have therefore evaluated the potential of Drosophila melanogaster as an additional model system with which to dissect the host-pathogen interactions that occur during Candida albicans systemic infection. To do this, we monitored the survival of wild-type flies infected with various C. albicans clinical isolates that were previously ranked for murine virulence. From our lifetime data we computed two metrics of virulence for each isolate. These correlated significantly with murine survival, and were also used to group the isolates, and this grouping made relevant predictions regarding their murine virulence. Notably, differences in virulence were not predictably resolvable using immune-deficient spz(-/-) flies, suggesting that Toll signalling might actually be required to predictably differentiate virulence. Our analysis reveals wild-type D. melanogaster as a sensitive and relevant model system; one that offers immense genetic tractability (having an extensive RNA interference library that enables tissue-specific gene silencing), and that is easy to manipulate and culture. Undoubtedly, it will prove to be a valuable addition to the model systems currently used to study C. albicans infection.
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The dectin-1/inflammasome pathway is responsible for the induction of protective T-helper 17 responses that discriminate between yeasts and hyphae of Candida albicans.
J. Leukoc. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 04-29-2011
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In the mucosa, the immune pathways discriminating between colonizing and invasive Candida, thus inducing tolerance or inflammation, are poorly understood. Th17 responses induced by Candida albicans hyphae are central for the activation of mucosal antifungal immunity. An essential step for the discrimination between yeasts and hyphae and induction of Th17 responses is the activation of the inflammasome by C. albicans hyphae and the subsequent release of active IL-1? in macrophages. Inflammasome activation in macrophages results from differences in cell-wall architecture between yeasts and hyphae and is partly mediated by the dectin-1/Syk pathway. These results define the dectin-1/inflammasome pathway as the mechanism that enables the host immune system to mount a protective Th17 response and distinguish between colonization and tissue invasion by C. albicans.
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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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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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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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Fig1 facilitates calcium influx and localizes to membranes destined to undergo fusion during mating in Candida albicans.
Eukaryotic Cell
PUBLISHED: 01-07-2011
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Few mating-regulated genes have been characterized in Candida albicans. C. albicans FIG1 (CaFIG1) is a fungus-specific and mating-induced gene encoding a putative 4-transmembrane domain protein that shares sequence similarities with members of the claudin superfamily. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Fig1 is required for shmoo fusion and is upregulated in response to mating pheromones. Expression of CaFIG1 was also strongly activated in the presence of cells of the opposite mating type. CaFig1-green fluorescent protein (GFP) was visible only during the mating response, when it localized predominantly to the plasma membrane and perinuclear zone in mating projections and daughter cells. At the plasma membrane, CaFig1-GFP was visualized as discontinuous zones, but the distribution of perinuclear CaFig1-GFP was homogeneous. Exposure to pheromone induced a 5-fold increase in Ca(2+) uptake in mating-competent opaque cells. Uptake was reduced substantially in the fig1? null mutant. CaFig1 is therefore involved in Ca(2+) influx and localizes to membranes that are destined to undergo fusion during mating.
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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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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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Chitin synthesis and fungal pathogenesis.
Curr. Opin. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 04-12-2010
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Chitin is an essential part of the carbohydrate skeleton of the fungal cell wall and is a molecule that is not represented in humans and other vertebrates. Complex regulatory mechanisms enable chitin to be positioned at specific sites throughout the cell cycle to maintain the overall strength of the wall and enable rapid, life-saving modifications to be made under cell wall stress conditions. Chitin has also recently emerged as a significant player in the activation and attenuation of immune responses to fungi and other chitin-containing parasites. This review summarises latest advances in the analysis of chitin synthesis regulation in the context of fungal pathogenesis.
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CO(2) acts as a signalling molecule in populations of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans.
PLoS Pathog.
PUBLISHED: 02-25-2010
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When colonising host-niches or non-animated medical devices, individual cells of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans expand into significant biomasses. Here we show that within such biomasses, fungal metabolically generated CO(2) acts as a communication molecule promoting the switch from yeast to filamentous growth essential for C. albicans pathology. We find that CO(2)-mediated intra-colony signalling involves the adenylyl cyclase protein (Cyr1p), a multi-sensor recently found to coordinate fungal responses to serum and bacterial peptidoglycan. We further identify Lys 1373 as essential for CO(2)/bicarbonate regulation of Cyr1p. Disruption of the CO(2)/bicarbonate receptor-site interferes selectively with C. albicans filamentation within fungal biomasses. Comparisons between the Drosophila melanogaster infection model and the mouse model of disseminated candidiasis, suggest that metabolic CO(2) sensing may be important for initial colonisation and epithelial invasion. Our results reveal the existence of a gaseous Candida signalling pathway and its molecular mechanism and provide insights into an evolutionary conserved CO(2)-signalling system.
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Variable recognition of Candida albicans strains by TLR4 and lectin recognition receptors.
Med. Mycol.
PUBLISHED: 02-20-2010
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The role of TLR4 in the recognition of Candida albicans has been brought into question. In order to assess whether discrepancies in the literature are due to differences in the recognition of various C. albicans strains, we selected 14 different isolates of C. albicans to evaluate their recognition by TLR4 and lectin receptors. We demonstrate that recognition of cell wall structures by lectin receptors is a consistent characteristic independent of the C. albicans strain selected, while recognition by TLR4 is a more variable feature. These data were corroborated by the increased susceptibility of TLR4-/- mice to a C. albicans strain recognized by TLR4, but not to a strain in which recognition has been shown to be independent of this receptor. This suggests a heavier reliance of in vivo antifungal host defense on lectin receptors than on TLRs, a notion compatible with the clinical picture in individuals deficient in MyD88/TLRs or dectin-1/CARD9.
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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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Protein glycosylation in Candida.
Future Microbiol
PUBLISHED: 11-10-2009
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Candidiasis is a significant cause of invasive human mycosis with associated mortality rates that are equivalent to, or worse than, those cited for most cases of bacterial septicemia. As a result, considerable efforts are being made to understand how the fungus invades host cells and to identify new targets for fungal chemotherapy. This has led to an increasing interest in Candida glycobiology, with an emphasis on the identification of enzymes essential for glycoprotein and adhesion metabolism, and the role of N- and O-linked glycans in host recognition and virulence. Here, we refer to studies dealing with the identification and characterization of enzymes such as dolichol phosphate mannose synthase, dolichol phosphate glucose synthase and processing glycosidases and synthesis, structure and recognition of mannans and discuss recent findings in the context of Candida albicans pathogenesis.
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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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Comparative genomics of the fungal pathogens Candida dubliniensis and Candida albicans.
Genome Res.
PUBLISHED: 09-10-2009
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Candida dubliniensis is the closest known relative of Candida albicans, the most pathogenic yeast species in humans. However, despite both species sharing many phenotypic characteristics, including the ability to form true hyphae, C. dubliniensis is a significantly less virulent and less versatile pathogen. Therefore, to identify C. albicans-specific genes that may be responsible for an increased capacity to cause disease, we have sequenced the C. dubliniensis genome and compared it with the known C. albicans genome sequence. Although the two genome sequences are highly similar and synteny is conserved throughout, 168 species-specific genes are identified, including some encoding known hyphal-specific virulence factors, such as the aspartyl proteinases Sap4 and Sap5 and the proposed invasin Als3. Among the 115 pseudogenes confirmed in C. dubliniensis are orthologs of several filamentous growth regulator (FGR) genes that also have suspected roles in pathogenesis. However, the principal differences in genomic repertoire concern expansion of the TLO gene family of putative transcription factors and the IFA family of putative transmembrane proteins in C. albicans, which represent novel candidate virulence-associated factors. The results suggest that the recent evolutionary histories of C. albicans and C. dubliniensis are quite different. While gene families instrumental in pathogenesis have been elaborated in C. albicans, C. dubliniensis has lost genomic capacity and key pathogenic functions. This could explain why C. albicans is a more potent pathogen in humans than C. dubliniensis.
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Fungal echinocandin resistance.
Fungal Genet. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 07-03-2009
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The echinocandins are the newest class of antifungal agents in the clinical armory. These secondary metabolites are non-competitive inhibitors of the synthesis of beta-(1,3)-glucan, a major structural component of the fungal cell wall. Recent work has shown that spontaneous mutations can arise in two hot spot regions of Fks1 the target protein of echinocandins that reduce the enzymes sensitivity to the drug. However, other strains have been isolated in which the sequence of FKS1 is unaltered yet the fungus has decreased sensitivity to echinocandins. In addition it has been shown that echinocandin-treatment can induce cell wall salvage mechanisms that result in the compensatory upregulation of chitin synthesis in the cell wall. This salvage mechanism strengthens cell walls damaged by exposure to echinocandins. Therefore, fungal resistance to echinocandins can arise due to the selection of either stable mutational or reversible physiological alterations that decrease susceptibility to these antifungal agents.
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Toll-like receptor 9-dependent activation of myeloid dendritic cells by Deoxynucleic acids from Candida albicans.
Infect. Immun.
PUBLISHED: 05-11-2009
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The innate immune system of humans recognizes the human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans via sugar polymers present in the cell wall, such as mannan and beta-glucan. Here, we examined whether nucleic acids from C. albicans activate dendritic cells. C. albicans DNA induced interleukin-12p40 (IL-12p40) production and CD40 expression by murine bone marrow-derived myeloid dendritic cells (BM-DCs) in a dose-dependent manner. BM-DCs that lacked Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), TLR2, and dectin-1, which are pattern recognition receptors for fungal cell wall components, produced IL-12p40 at levels comparable to the levels produced by BM-DCs from wild-type mice, and DNA from a C. albicans pmr1Delta null mutant, which has a gross defect in mannosylation, retained the ability to activate BM-DCs. This stimulatory effect disappeared completely after DNase treatment. In contrast, RNase treatment increased production of the cytokine. A similar reduction in cytokine production was observed when BM-DCs from TLR9(-/-) and MyD88(-/-) mice were used. In a luciferase reporter assay, NF-kappaB activation was detected in TLR9-expressing HEK293T cells stimulated with C. albicans DNA. Confocal microscopic analysis showed similar localization of C. albicans DNA and CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG-ODN) in BM-DCs. Treatment of C. albicans DNA with methylase did not affect its ability to induce IL-12p40 synthesis, whereas the same treatment completely eliminated the ability of CpG-ODN to induce IL-12p40 synthesis. Finally, impaired clearance of this fungal pathogen was not found in the kidneys of TLR9(-/-) mice. These results suggested that C. albicans DNA activated BM-DCs through a TLR9-mediated signaling pathway using a mechanism independent of the unmethylated CpG motif.
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Fungal morphogenesis: some like it hot.
Curr. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 05-05-2009
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The ability to reversibly convert between budding yeast-like and filamentous hyphal forms is important for the virulence of Candida albicans. A new study now provides insight into the relationship between environmental temperature and the signalling mechanisms that regulate morphogenesis in this fungal pathogen.
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Mechanisms of hypha orientation of fungi.
Curr. Opin. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 04-14-2009
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Hypha orientation is an essential aspect of polarised growth and the morphogenesis, spatial ecology and pathogenesis of fungi. The ability to re-orient tip growth in response to environmental cues is critical for colony ramification, the penetration of diverse host tissues and the formation of mating structures. Recent studies have begun to describe the molecular machinery regulating hypha orientation. Calcium signalling, the polarisome Bud1-GTPase module and the Tea cell-end marker proteins of the microtubule cytoskeleton, along with specific kinesins and sterol-rich apical microdomains, are involved in hypha orientation. Mutations that affect these processes generate normal-shaped, growing hyphae that have either abnormal meandering trajectories or attenuated tropic responses. Hyphal tip orientation and tip extension are, therefore, distinct regulatory mechanisms that operate in parallel during filamentous growth, thereby allowing fungi to orchestrate their reproduction in relation to gradients of effectors in their environments.
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Pseudohypha budding patterns of Candida albicans.
Med. Mycol.
PUBLISHED: 04-07-2009
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Pseudohyphal growth of Candida albicans has been recognized as a morphological growth form that exhibits characteristics that are distinct from those of the budding yeast phase and true hyphal form of this pathogenic fungus. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, pseudohypha growth involves synchronous unipolar cell divisions that are a modification of the bipolar budding pattern of diploid cells. While pseudohyphae of C. albicans also exhibit unipolar cell divisions, live cell imaging demonstrated departures from the normal unipolar pattern. Buds occasionally followed a bipolar or axial budding event in which buds could be formed from the proximal or distal ends of a parent pseudohypha. This extends the known morphological repertoire of cell division patterns in C. albicans pseudohyphal cells.
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Loss of mannosylphosphate from Candida albicans cell wall proteins results in enhanced resistance to the inhibitory effect of a cationic antimicrobial peptide via reduced peptide binding to the cell surface.
Microbiology (Reading, Engl.)
PUBLISHED: 04-01-2009
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The outermost layer of the Candida albicans cell wall is enriched with mannosylated glycoproteins. We have used a range of isogenic glycosylation mutants of C. albicans, which are defective to varying degrees in cell wall protein mannosylation, to investigate the role of the outermost layer of the yeast cell wall in mediating the fungicidal action of the cationic, alpha-helical antimicrobial peptide dermaseptin S3(1-16) [DsS3(1-16)]. The degree of phosphomannan loss, and concomitant reduction in surface negative charge, from the series of glycosylation mutants correlated with reduced levels of peptide binding to the cells. In turn, the reduced peptide binding correlated with enhanced resistance to DsS3(1-16). To ascertain whether DsS3(1-16) binds to negatively charged phosphate, we studied the effect of exogenous glucosamine 6-phosphate, and glucosamine hydrochloride as a negative control, on the antifungal efficacy of DsS3(1-16). Glucosamine 6-phosphate retarded the efficacy of DsS3(1-16), and this was attributed to the presence of phosphate, because addition of identical concentrations of glucosamine hydrochloride had little detrimental effect on peptide efficacy. Fluorescence microscopy with DsS3(1-16) tagged with fluorescein revealed that the peptide binds to the outer surface of the yeast cell, supporting our previous conclusion that the presence of exterior phosphomannan is a major determinant of the antifungal potency of DsS3(1-16). The binding of the peptide to the cell surface was a transient event that was followed by apparent localization of DsS3(1-16) in the vacuole or dissemination throughout the entire cytosol. The presence of glucosamine 6-phosphate clearly reduced the proportion of cells in the population that showed complete cytosolic staining, implying that the binding and entry of the peptide into the cytosol is significantly reduced due to the exogenous phosphate sequestering the peptide and reducing the amount of peptide able to bind to the surface phosphomannan. In conclusion, we present evidence that an antimicrobial peptide, similar to those employed by cells of the human immune system, has evolved to recognize molecular patterns on the surface of pathogens in order to maximize efficacy.
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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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Vacuole inheritance regulates cell size and branching frequency of Candida albicans hyphae.
Mol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 02-28-2009
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Hyphal growth of Candida albicans is characterized by asymmetric cell divisions in which the subapical mother cell inherits most of the vacuolar space and becomes cell cycle arrested in G1, while the apical daughter cell acquires most of the cell cytoplasm and progresses through G1 into the next mitotic cell cycle. Consequently, branch formation in hyphal compartments is delayed until sufficient cytoplasm is synthesized to execute the G1 START function. To test the hypothesis that this mode of vacuole inheritance determines cell cycle progression and therefore the branching of hyphae, eight tetracycline-regulated conditional mutants were constructed that were affected at different stages of the vacuole inheritance pathway. Under repressing conditions, vac7, vac8 and fab1 mutants generated mycelial compartments with more symmetrically distributed vacuoles and increased branching frequencies. Repression of VAC1, VAM2 and VAM3 resulted in sparsely branched hyphae, with large vacuoles and enlarged hyphal compartments. Therefore, during hyphal growth of C. albicans the cell cycle, growth and branch formation can be uncoupled, resulting in the investment of cytoplasm to support hyphal extension at the expense of hyphal branching.
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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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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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Bypassing pathogen-induced inflammasome activation for the regulation of interleukin-1beta production by the fungal pathogen Candida albicans.
J. Infect. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 02-19-2009
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Interleukin (IL)-1beta has an important role in antifungal defense mechanisms. The inflammasome is thought to be required for caspase-1 activation and processing of the inactive precursor pro-IL-1beta. The aim of the present study was to investigate the pathways of IL-1beta production induced by Candida albicans in human monocytes.
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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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Calcium homeostasis is required for contact-dependent helical and sinusoidal tip growth in Candida albicans hyphae.
Mol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 01-19-2009
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Hyphae of the dimorphic fungus, Candida albicans, exhibit directional tip responses when grown in contact with surfaces. On hard surfaces or in liquid media, the trajectory of hyphal growth is typically linear, with tip re-orientation events limited to encounters with topographical features (thigmotropism). In contrast, when grown on semisolid surfaces, the tips of C. albicans hyphae grow in an oscillatory manner to form regular two-dimensional sinusoidal curves and three-dimensional helices. We show that, like thigmotropism, initiation of directional tip oscillation in C. albicans hyphae is severely attenuated when Ca2+ homeostasis is perturbed. Chelation of extracellular Ca2+ or deletion of the Ca2+ transporters that modulate cytosolic [Ca2+] (Mid1, Cch1 or Pmr1) did not affect hyphal length but curve formation was severely reduced in mid1Delta and cch1Delta and abolished in pmr1Delta. Sinusoidal hypha morphology was altered in the mid1Delta, chs3Delta and heterozygous pmr1Delta/PMR1 strains. Treatments that affect cell wall integrity, changes in surface mannosylation or the provision of additional carbon sources had significant but less pronounced effects on oscillatory growth. The induction of two- and three-dimensional sinusoidal growth in wild-type C. albicans hyphae is therefore the consequence of mechanisms that involve Ca2+ influx and signalling rather than gross changes in the cell wall architecture.
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Candida albicans ABG1 gene is involved in endocytosis.
FEMS Yeast Res.
PUBLISHED: 01-17-2009
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The human fungal pathogen Candida albicans undergoes reversible morphogenetic transitions between yeast, hyphal and pseudohyphal forms. The fungal vacuole actively participates in differentiation processes and plays a key role supporting hyphal growth. The ABG1 gene of C. albicans encodes an essential protein located in the vacuolar membranes of both yeast and hyphae. Using fluorescence microscopy of a green fluorescent protein-tagged version of Abg1p, a fraction of the protein was detected in hyphal tips, not associated with vacuolar membranes. Live cell imaging of emerging germ tubes showed that Abg1p migrated to the polarized growth site and colocalized with endocytic vesicles. Phenotypic analysis of a methionine-regulated conditional mutant confirmed that Abg1p is involved in endocytosis.
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Comparative genomics of MAP kinase and calcium-calcineurin signalling components in plant and human pathogenic fungi.
Fungal Genet. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 01-16-2009
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Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades and the calcium-calcineurin pathway control fundamental aspects of fungal growth, development and reproduction. Core elements of these signalling pathways are required for virulence in a wide array of fungal pathogens of plants and mammals. In this review, we have used the available genome databases to explore the structural conservation of three MAPK cascades and the calcium-calcineurin pathway in ten different fungal species, including model organisms, plant pathogens and human pathogens. While most known pathway components from the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae appear to be widely conserved among taxonomically and biologically diverse fungi, some of them were found to be restricted to the Saccharomycotina. The presence of multiple paralogues in certain species such as the zygomycete Rhizopus oryzae and the incorporation of new functional domains that are lacking in S. cerevisiae signalling proteins, most likely reflect functional diversification or adaptation as filamentous fungi have evolved to occupy distinct ecological niches.
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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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Pattern recognition: recent insights from Dectin-1.
Curr. Opin. Immunol.
PUBLISHED: 01-12-2009
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The beta-glucan receptor Dectin-1 is an archetypical non-toll-like pattern recognition receptor expressed predominantly by myeloid cells, which can induce its own intracellular signalling and can mediate a variety of cellular responses, such as cytokine production. Recent identification of the components of these signalling pathways, such as Syk kinase, CARD9 and Raf-1, has provided novel insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying Dectin-1 function. Furthermore, a broader appreciation of the cellular responses mediated by this receptor and the effects of interactions with other receptors, including the TLRs, have greatly furthered our understanding of innate immunity and how this drives the development of adaptive immunity, particularly Th17 responses. Recent studies have highlighted the importance of Dectin-1 in anti-fungal immunity, in both mice and humans, and have suggested a possible involvement of this receptor in the control of mycobacterial infections.
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Dissection of the Candida albicans class I chitin synthase promoters.
Mol. Genet. Genomics
PUBLISHED: 01-05-2009
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Maintenance of the integrity of the cell wall in fungi is essential. One mechanism that cells use to maintain cell wall integrity in response to cell wall damage is to up-regulate chitin synthesis. In Candida albicans, the PKC cell wall integrity, Ca(2+)/calcineurin and high osmolarity glycerol (HOG) signalling pathways co-ordinately regulate chitin synthesis in response to cell wall stress. The transcription factors downstream of these pathways and their DNA binding sites within the promoters of target genes are well characterised in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, but not in C. albicans. The promoters of the C. albicans class I CHS genes (CaCHS2 and CaCHS8) were functionally dissected with the aim of identifying and characterising the transcription factors and promoter elements that mediate the transcriptional up-regulation of CaCHS2 and CaCHS8 in response to cell wall stress. This analysis provided evidence that the PKC cell wall integrity pathway may operate through RLM1-elements in the CaCHS2 and CaCHS8 promoters, but that promoter sequences that respond to the Ca(2+)/calcineurin and HOG signalling pathways in S. cerevisiae did not directly regulate chitin synthase 2 and 8 gene transcription in C. albicans.
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Hidden killers: human fungal infections.
Sci Transl Med
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Although fungal infections contribute substantially to human morbidity and mortality, the impact of these diseases on human health is not widely appreciated. Moreover, despite the urgent need for efficient diagnostic tests and safe and effective new drugs and vaccines, research into the pathophysiology of human fungal infections lags behind that of diseases caused by other pathogens. In this Review, we highlight the importance of fungi as human pathogens and discuss the challenges we face in combating the devastating invasive infections caused by these microorganisms, in particular in immunocompromised individuals.
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