Secreted aspartyl proteinases (Saps) contribute to the ability of Candida albicans to cause mucosal and disseminated infections. A model of vaginal candidiasis based on reconstituted human vaginal epithelium (RHVE) was used to study the expression and role of these C. albicans proteinases during infection and tissue damage of vaginal epithelium. Colonization of the RHVE by C. albicans SC5314 did not cause any visible epithelial damage 6 h after inoculation, although expression of SAP2, SAP9, and SAP10 was detected by reverse transcriptase PCR. However, significant epithelial damage was observed after 12 h, concomitant with the additional expression of SAP1, SAP4, and SAP5. Additional transcripts of SAP6 and SAP7 were detected at a later stage of the artificial infection (24 h). Similar SAP expression profiles were observed in three samples isolated from human patients with vaginal candidiasis. In experimental infection, secretion of antigens Sap1 to Sap6 by C. albicans was confirmed at the ultrastructural level by using polyclonal antisera raised against Sap1 to Sap6. Addition of the aspartyl proteinase inhibitors pepstatin A and the human immunodeficiency virus proteinase inhibitors ritonavir and amprenavir strongly reduced the tissue damage of the vaginal epithelia by C. albicans cells. Furthermore, SAP null mutants lacking either SAP1 or SAP2 had a drastically reduced potential to cause tissue damage even though SAP3, SAP4, and SAP7 were up-regulated in these mutants. In contrast the vaginopathic potential of mutants lacking SAP3 or SAP4 to SAP6 was not reduced compared to wild-type cells. These data provide further evidence for a crucial role of Sap1 and Sap2 in C. albicans vaginal infections.
Vaginal isolates of Candida albicans from human immunodeficiency virus-positive (HIV+) and HIV− women with or without candidal vaginitis were examined for secretory aspartyl proteinase (Sap) production in vitro and in vivo and for the possible correlation of Sap production with pathology and antimycotic susceptibility in vitro. HIV+ women with candidal vaginitis were infected by strains of C. albicans showing significantly higher levels of Sap, a virulence enzyme, than strains isolated from HIV+, C. albicans carrier subjects and HIV− subjects with vaginitis. The greater production of Sap in vitro was paralleled by greater amounts of Sap in the vaginal fluids of infected subjects. In an estrogen-dependent, rat vaginitis model, a strain of C. albicans producing a high level of Sap that was isolated from an HIV+ woman with vaginitis was more pathogenic than a strain of C. albicans that was isolated primarily from an HIV−, Candida carrier. In the same model, pepstatin A, a strong Sap inhibitor, exerted a strong curative effect on experimental vaginitis. No correlation was found between Sap production and antimycotic susceptibility, as most of the isolates were fully susceptible to fluconazole, itraconazole, and other antimycotics, regardless of their source (subjects infected with strains producing high or low levels of Sap, subjects with vaginitis or carrier subjects, or subjects with or without HIV). Thus, high Sap production is associated with virulence of C. albicans but not with fungal resistance to fluconazole in HIV-infected subjects, and Sap is a potentially new therapeutic target in candidal vaginitis.
The indigenous bacterial microbiome of the stomach, including lactobacilli, is vital in promoting colonization resistance against Candida albicans. However, there are gaps in our understanding about C. albicans gastric colonization versus disease, especially during the postantibiotic recovery phase. This study compared the gastric responses to C. albicans strains CHN1 and SC5314 in microbiome-disturbed and germfree mice to elucidate the contribution of the indigenous microbiota in C. albicans colonization versus disease and yeast-bacterium antagonism during the post-cefoperazone recolonization period. C. albicans can prevent the regrowth of Lactobacillus spp. in the stomach after cefoperazone and promote increased colonization by Enterococcus spp. Using a culture-independent analysis, the effects of oral cefoperazone on the gastric bacterial microbiota were observed to last at least 3 weeks after the cessation of the antibiotic. Disturbance of the gastric bacterial community by cefoperazone alone was not sufficient to cause gastritis, C. albicans colonization was also needed. Gastritis was not evident until after day 7 in cefoperazone-treated infected mice. In contrast, in germfree mice which lack a gastric microbiota, C. albicans induced gastric inflammation within 1 week of inoculation. Therefore, the gastric bacterial community in cefoperazone-treated mice during the first week of postantibiotic recolonization was sufficient to prevent the development of gastritis, despite being ineffective at conferring colonization resistance against C. albicans. Altogether, these data implicate a dichotomy between C. albicans colonization and gastric disease that is bacterial microbiome dependent.
Secreted aspartyl proteinases (Saps) are important virulence factors of Candida albicans during mucosal and disseminated infections and may also contribute to the induction of an inflammatory host immune response. We used a model of vaginal candidiasis based on reconstituted human vaginal epithelium (RHVE) to study the epithelial cytokine response induced by C. albicans. In order to study the impact of the overall proteolytic activity and of distinct Sap isoenzymes, we studied the effect of the proteinase inhibitor pepstatin A on the immune response and compared the cytokine expression pattern induced by the wild-type strain SC5314 with the pattern induced by Sap-deficient mutants. Infection of RHVE with the C. albicans wild-type strain induced strong interleukin 1α (IL-1α), IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, gamma interferon, and tumor necrosis factor alpha responses in comparison with cytokine expression in noninfected tissue. Addition of the aspartyl proteinase inhibitor pepstatin A strongly reduced the cytokine response of RHVE. Furthermore, SAP-null mutants lacking either SAP1 or SAP2 caused reduced tissue damage and had a significantly reduced potential to stimulate cytokine expression. In contrast, the vaginopathic and cytokine-inducing potential of mutants lacking SAP4 to SAP6 was similar to that of the wild-type strain. These data show that the potential of specific Saps to cause tissue damage correlates with an epithelium-induced proinflammatory cytokine response, which may be crucial in controlling and managing C. albicans infections at the vaginal mucosa in vivo.
A quantitative real-time RT-PCR system was established to identify which secreted aspartyl proteinase (SAP) genes are most highly expressed and potentially contribute to Candida albicans infection of human epithelium in vitro and in vivo. C. albicans SC5314 SAP1–10 gene expression was monitored in organotypic reconstituted human epithelium (RHE) models, monolayers of oral epithelial cells, and patients with oral (n=17) or vaginal (n=17) candidiasis. SAP gene expression was also analysed in Δsap1–3, Δsap4–6, Δefg1 and Δefg1/cph1 mutants to determine whether compensatory SAP gene regulation occurs in the absence of distinct proteinase gene subfamilies. In monolayers, RHE models and patient samples SAP9 was consistently the most highly expressed gene in wild-type cells. SAP5 was the only gene significantly upregulated as infection progressed in both RHE models and was also highly expressed in patient samples. Interestingly, the SAP4–6 subfamily was generally more highly expressed in oral monolayers than in RHE models. SAP1 and SAP2 expression was largely unchanged in all model systems, and SAP3, SAP7 and SAP8 were expressed at low levels throughout. In Δsap1–3, expression was compensated for by increased expression of SAP5, and in Δsap4–6, expression was compensated for by SAP2: both were observed only in the oral RHE. Both Δsap1–3 and Δsap4–6 mutants caused RHE tissue damage comparable to the wild-type. However, addition of pepstatin A reduced tissue damage, indicating a role for the Sap family as a whole in inducing epithelial damage. With the hypha-deficient mutants, RHE tissue damage was significantly reduced in both Δefg1/cph1 and Δefg1, but SAP5 expression was only dramatically reduced in Δefg1/cph1 despite the absence of hyphal growth in both mutants. This indicates that hypha formation is the predominant cause of tissue damage, and that SAP5 expression can be hypha-independent and is not solely controlled by the Efg1 pathway but also by the Cph1 pathway. This is believed to be the first study to fully quantify SAP gene expression levels during human mucosal infections; the results suggest that SAP5 and SAP9 are the most highly expressed proteinase genes in vivo. However, the overall contribution of the Sap1–3 and Sap4–6 subfamilies individually in inducing epithelial damage in the RHE models appears to be low.
The role of systemic cell-mediated immunity (CMI) as a host defense mechanism in the vagina is poorly understood. Using a murine pseudoestrus model of experimental vaginal candidiasis, we previously found that animals given a vaginal inoculum of viable Candida albicans blastoconidia acquired a persistent vaginal infection and developed Candida-specific delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses. The present study was designed to characterize the peripheral CMI reactivity generated from the vaginal infection in mice and to determine whether pseudoestrus is a prerequisite for the induction of peripheral CMI reactivity. Mice treated or not treated with estrogen and given a vaginal inoculum of C. albicans blastoconidia were examined for 4 weeks for their vaginal Candida burden and peripheral CMI reactivity, including DTH responsiveness and in vitro Th1 (interleukin-2 [IL-2], gamma interferon [IFN-gamma]/Th2 (IL-4, IL-10)-type lymphokine production in response to Candida antigens. Results showed that although mice not treated with estrogen before being given a vaginal inoculum of C. albicans blastoconidia developed only a short-lived vaginal infection and harbored significantly fewer Candida CFU in the vagina compared with those given estrogen and then infected; DTH reactivity was equivalent in both groups. In vitro measurement of CMI reactivity further showed that lymph node cells from both estrogen- and non-estrogen-treated infected mice produced elevated levels of IL-2 and IFN-gamma in response to Candida antigens during the 4 weeks after vaginal inoculation. In contrast, lymph node cells from the same vaginally infected mice showed no IL-10 production and only small elevations of IL-4 during week 4 of infection. These results suggest that mice with experimental vaginal candidiasis develop predominantly Th1-type Candida-specific peripheral CMI reactivity and that similar patterns of Th1-type reactivity occur in mice regardless of the persistence of infection and the estrogen status of the infected mice.
Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis, caused by Candida albicans, is a significant problem in women of childbearing age. Although cell-mediated immunity (CMI) due to T cells and cytokines is the predominant host defense mechanism against C. albicans at mucosal tissue sites, host defense mechanisms against C. albicans at the vaginal mucosa are poorly understood. Based on an estrogen-dependent murine model of vaginal candidiasis, our data suggest that systemic CMI is ineffective against C. albicans vaginal infections. Thus, we have postulated that local immune mechanisms are critical for protection against infection. In the present study, the kinetic production of chemokines normally associated with the chemotaxis of T cells, macrophages (RANTES, MIP-1α, MCP-1), and polymorphonuclear neutrophils (MIP-2) was examined following intravaginal inoculation of C. albicans in estrogen-treated or untreated mice. Results showed significant increases in MCP-1 protein and mRNA in vaginal tissue of infected mice as early as 2 and 4 days postinoculation, respectively, that continued through a 21-day observation period, irrespective of estrogen status. No significant changes were observed with RANTES, MIP-1α, or MIP-2, although relatively high constitutive levels of RANTES mRNA and MIP-2 protein were observed. Furthermore, intravaginal immunoneutralization of MCP-1 with anti-MCP-1 antibodies resulted in a significant increase in vaginal fungal burden early during infection, suggesting that MCP-1 plays some role in reducing the fungal burden during vaginal infection. However, the lack of changes in leukocyte profiles in vaginal lavage fluids collected from infected versus uninfected mice suggests that MCP-1 functions to control vaginal C. albicans titers in a manner independent of cellular chemotactic activity.
Interactions between colonizing commensal microorganisms and their hosts play important roles in health and disease. The opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans is a common component of human intestinal flora. To gain insight into C. albicans colonization, genes expressed by fungi grown within a host were studied. The EFH1 gene, encoding a putative transcription factor, was highly expressed during growth of C. albicans in the intestinal tract. Counterintuitively, an efh1 null mutant exhibited increased colonization of the murine intestinal tract, a model of commensal colonization, whereas an EFH1 overexpressing strain exhibited reduced colonization of the intestinal tract and of the oral cavity of athymic mice, the latter situation modeling human mucosal candidiasis. When inoculated into the bloodstream of mice, both efh1 null and EFH1 overexpressing strains caused lethal infections. In contrast, other mutants are attenuated in virulence following intravenous inoculation but exhibited normal levels of intestinal colonization. Finally, although expression of several genes is dependent on transcription factor Efg1p during laboratory growth, Efg1p-independent expression of these genes was observed during growth within the murine intestinal tract. These results show that expression of EFH1 regulated the level of colonizing fungi, favoring commensalism as opposed to candidiasis. Also, different genes are required in different host niches and the pathway(s) that regulates gene expression during host colonization can differ from well-characterized pathways used during laboratory growth.
Although the fungus Candida albicans commonly colonizes the human gastrointestinal tract as a commensal, the organism is also an opportunistic pathogen, responsible for a wide range of infections in immunocompromised persons. While numerous studies of infection have been conducted, few studies have analyzed the commensal state. The studies described here analyze C. albicans cells colonizing the intestinal tract of immunocompetent mice in the absence of disease, a model for commensalism. Results showed that expression of the putative transcription factor Efh1p by cells colonizing the intestinal tract was relatively high, but paradoxically, expression of Efh1p was associated with lower colonization. Efh1p had no detectable effect on the ability of C. albicans to cause lethal disseminated infection in mice. In contrast, Rbt1p and Rbt4p, two proteins of poorly defined function required for normal disseminated infection, were not required for intestinal colonization. These results argue that the commensal state is distinct from the pathogenic state and that different factors are important in different states. Also, the regulation of expression of genes RBT1, RBT4, and ECE1 during intestinal colonization differed from their well-characterized regulation during laboratory growth. Further studies of commensal colonization are needed to understand this important stage of C. albicans biology.
It has been postulated that systemic cell-mediated immunity (CMI) is an important host defense factor against recurrent vaginal infections caused by Candida albicans. Using an estrogen-dependent murine model of vaginal candidiasis, we have previously shown that mice inoculated vaginally with C. albicans acquire a persistent vaginal infection and develop Candida-specific Th1-type systemic CMI. In the present study, experimental vaginitis was monitored in the presence of preinduced systemic Candida-specific CMI. Mice immunized systemically with C. albicans culture filtrate antigens (CaCF) in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) had Th1-type reactivity similar to that of vaginally infected mice. CaCF given to mice intravenously induced Candida-specific suppressor T (Ts) cells. Mice preimmunized with CaCF-CFA and given a vaginal inoculum of C. albicans had positive delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) reactivity from the time of vaginal inoculation through 4 weeks. Conversely, mice infected in the presence of Ts cells had significantly reduced DTH responses throughout the 4-week period in comparison with naive infected mice. However, the presence of Th1-type Candida-specific DTH cells or Ts cells, either induced in mice prior to vaginal inoculation or adoptively transferred at the time of inoculation, had no effect on the vaginal Candida burden through 4 weeks of infection. A similar lack of effects was obtained in animals with lower Candida population levels resulting from a reduction in or absence of exogenous estrogen. These results suggest that systemic Th1-type CMI demonstrable with CaCF is unrelated to protective events at the level of the vaginal mucosa.
Current understanding of resistance and susceptibility to vulvovaginal candidiasis challenges existing paradigms of host defence against fungal infection. While abiotic biofilm formation has a clearly established role during systemic Candida infections, it is not known whether C. albicans forms biofilms on the vaginal mucosa and the possible role of biofilms in disease. In vivo and ex vivo murine vaginitis models were employed to examine biofilm formation by scanning electron and confocal microscopy. C. albicans strains included 3153A (lab strain), DAY185 (parental control strain), and mutants defective in morphogenesis and/or biofilm formation in vitro (efg1/efg1 and bcr1/bcr1). Both 3153A and DAY815 formed biofilms on the vaginal mucosa in vivo and ex vivo as indicated by high fungal burden and microscopic analysis demonstrating typical biofilm architecture and presence of extracellular matrix (ECM) co-localized with the presence of fungi. In contrast, efg1/efg1 and bcr1/bcr1 mutant strains exhibited weak or no biofilm formation/ECM production in both models compared to wild-type strains and complemented mutants despite comparable colonization levels. These data show for the first time that C. albicans forms biofilms in vivo on vaginal epithelium, and that in vivo biotic biofilm formation requires regulators of biofilm formation (BCR1) and morphogenesis (EFG1).
Secreted aspartyl proteinases are putative virulence factors in Candida infections. Candida albicans possesses at least nine members of a SAP gene family, all of which have been sequenced. Although the expression of the SAP genes has been extensively characterized under laboratory growth conditions, no studies have analyzed in detail the in vivo expression of these proteinases in human oral colonization and infection. We have developed a reliable and sensitive procedure to detect C. albicans mRNA from whole saliva of patients with oral C. albicans infection and those with asymptomatic Candida carriage. The reverse transcription-PCR protocol was used to determine which of the SAP1 to SAP7 genes are expressed by C. albicans during colonization and infection of the oral cavity. SAP2 and the SAP4 to SAP6 subfamily were the predominant proteinase genes expressed in the oral cavities of both Candida carriers and patients with oral candidiasis; SAP4, SAP5, or SAP6 mRNA was detected in all subjects. SAP1 and SAP3 transcripts were observed only in patients with oral candidiasis. SAP7 mRNA expression, which has never been demonstrated under laboratory conditions, was detected in several of the patient samples. All seven SAP genes were simultaneously expressed in some patients with oral candidiasis. This is the first detailed study showing that the SAP gene family is expressed by C. albicans during colonization and infection in humans and that C. albicans infection is associated with the differential expression of individual SAP genes which may be involved in the pathogenesis of oral candidiasis.
Expression of the eight genes in the Candida albicans agglutinin-like sequence (ALS) family was studied by reverse transcription-PCR of RNA isolated from clinical vaginal fluid specimens and vaginal candidiasis model systems. Although expression of all ALS genes was detected across the set of clinical specimens, ALS1, ALS2, ALS3, and ALS9 transcripts were detected most frequently, and expression of ALS4 and ALS5 was detected least frequently. Laboratory strain 3153A and two C. albicans strains isolated from the clinical specimens were studied using two models of vaginal candidiasis to determine how closely these models mimicked the clinical specimens at the level of gene expression. ALS gene expression patterns in a murine vaginitis model were identical to those from the clinical specimens. Expression of more ALS genes was detected in specimens collected 7 days after infection compared to those collected at 4 days. Similar patterns of ALS gene expression were observed when the three C. albicans strains were tested in the reconstituted human vaginal epithelium model. In this model, expression of ALS4, ALS5, ALS6, and ALS7 was least frequently detected. Negative or weakened signals for ALS4 expression were observed at early time points, suggesting that ALS4 expression, which was strong in the inoculum cells, was down-regulated upon contact of C. albicans with vaginal epithelial cells in this model. The data presented here support the conclusion of host-site-specific influences on ALS gene expression and validate the use of the experimental models for evaluating the phenotype of als/als mutant strains.
In this work, the zebrafish model organism was developed to obtain a minivertebrate host system for a Candida albicans infection study. We demonstrated that C. albicans can colonize and invade zebrafish at multiple anatomical sites and kill the fish in a dose-dependent manner. Inside zebrafish, we monitored the progression of the C. albicans yeast-to-hypha transition by tracking morphogenesis, and we monitored the corresponding gene expression of the pathogen and the early host immune response. We performed a zebrafish survival assay with different C. albicans strains (SC5314, ATCC 10231, an hgc1 mutant, and a cph1/efg1 double mutant) to determine each strain's virulence, and the results were similar to findings reported in previous mouse model studies. Finally, using zebrafish embryos, we monitored C. albicans infection and visualized the interaction between pathogen and host myelomonocytic cells in vivo. Taken together, the results of this work demonstrate that zebrafish can be a useful host model to study C. albicans pathogenesis, and they highlight the advantages of using the zebrafish model in future invasive fungal research.
Oophorectomized, estrogen-treated rats were susceptible to experimental vaginal infection by Candida albicans. After spontaneous clearing of the primary infection, the animals were highly resistant to a second vaginal challenge with the fungus. The vaginal fluid of Candida-resistant rats contained antibodies directed against mannan constituents and secretory aspartyl proteinase(s) of C. albicans and was capable of transferring a degree of anti-Candida protection to naive, nonimmunized rats. This passive protection was mediated by the immunoglobulin fraction of the vaginal fluid and was substantially abolished by preabsorption of the vaginal fluid with C. albicans, but not with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, cells. Vaginal anti-mannan antibodies were also produced by active immunization with heat-killed cells of C. albicans or with a mannan extract when administered via the vaginal route. The protection conferred was comparable to that resulting from clearing of the primary infection. In summary, the data suggest that acquired anticandidal protection in this vaginitis model is mediated at least in part by antibodies, among which those directed against the mannan antigen(s) might play a dominant role.
Isoenzyme analysis was performed on multiple strains of two commonly used reference cultures of Candida albicans (B311 and NCPF3153). Whereas strains originating from C. albicans B311 showed no variation in isoenzyme profiles, some strains derived from NCPF3153 were identical to B311 strains but others showed variation in their glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase isoenzymes. The results are compared with those from previous analyses with these strains and show that C. albicans can undergo genetic alterations during prolonged maintenance in laboratories.
Several strains of Candida albicans were compared for their ability to cause vaginal infection in a rat model, and their vaginopathic potentials were correlated with the expression of two aspartyl proteinases genes (SAP1 and SAP2) and adherence in vivo to the vaginal epithelium. Dot blot reactions and Northern blot analysis with RNA extracted from the vaginal fluid of rats infected with the highly vaginopathic strains H12 and 10261 demonstrated the expression of both SAP1 and SAP2 during the first week of infection. In contrast, neither gene was expressed during infection by a nonvaginopathic strain (N), even though the organism could be recovered during the first 24 h postinfection. A moderately vaginopathic strain (P) also expressed both genes, but the level of SAP1 mRNA appeared to decrease prior to that of SAP2. Neither gene was expressed, even by the highly vaginopathic strains, after the first week of infection, concomitant with a decrease in the number of organisms recovered from the vaginas. Analysis of in vivo adherence showed that the nonvaginopathic strain (N) adhered to vaginal epithelial cells less readily than the highly vaginopathic strain (H12) and moderately vaginopathic strain (P). Thus, in addition to its inability to express SAP1 and SAP2 in vivo, the nonvaginopathic strain does not colonize host cells to the same extent as the other strains tested. Our results demonstrate the early in vivo expression of two aspartyl proteinase gene during candidal vaginitis and suggest its association with the establishment of a vaginal infection.
Urogenital infections of bacterial origin have a high incidence
among the world female population at reproductive age.
Lactobacilli, the predominant microorganisms of the healthy
vaginal microbiota, have shown a protective effect against the
colonization and overgrowth of urogenital pathogens that increased
the interest for including them into probiotics products assigned
to restore the urogenital balance. In the present work, we
determined in a mouse animal model the capability of Lactobacillus paracasei CRL 1289, a human vaginal strain with probiotic properties, to prevent the vaginal colonization of a uropathogenic strain of Staphylococcus aureus.
Six-week-old female BALB/c mice, synchronized in their estral
cycle, were intravaginally inoculated with two doses of 109 lactobacilli before challenging them with a single dose of 105 or 107 CFU of S. aureus. The vaginal colonization of both microorganisms and the effect on the vaginal structure were determined at 2, 5, and 7 days after pathogen
inoculation. Control mice and those challenged only with the
pathogen showed an insignificant lactobacilli population, whereas 105 lactobacilli/mL of vaginal homogenate were recovered at 2
days after challenge from the L. paracasei CRL 1289 and
the probiotic + pathogen groups, decreasing this number on the
following days. The treatment with L. paracasei CRL 1289
decreased significantly the number of staphylococci recovered at 2
and 5 days when mice were challenged only with 105 CFU of
pathogen. The inoculation of S. aureus produced a
remarkable inflammatory response and structural alterations in the
vaginal mucosa that decreases in a significant manner when the
mice were protected with L. paracasei CRL 1289. The
results obtained suggest that this particular Lactobacillus strain could prevent the onset of urogenital infections by interfering with the epithelial
colonization by uropathogenic S. aureus.
The fungus Candida albicans colonizes human oral cavity surfaces in conjunction with a complex microflora. C. albicans SC5314 formed biofilms on saliva-coated surfaces that in early stages of development consisted of ∼30% hyphal forms. In mixed biofilms with the oral bacterium Streptococcus gordonii DL1, hyphal development by C. albicans was enhanced so that biofilms consisted of ∼60% hyphal forms. Cell-cell contact between S. gordonii and C. albicans involved Streptococcus cell wall-anchored proteins SspA and SspB (antigen I/II family polypeptides). Repression of C. albicans hyphal filament and biofilm production by the quorum-sensing molecule farnesol was relieved by S. gordonii. The ability of a luxS mutant of S. gordonii deficient in production of autoinducer 2 to induce C. albicans hyphal formation was reduced, and this mutant suppressed farnesol inhibition of hyphal formation less effectively. Coincubation of the two microbial species led to activation of C. albicans mitogen-activated protein kinase Cek1p, inhibition of Mkc1p activation by H2O2, and enhanced activation of Hog1p by farnesol, which were direct effects of streptococci on morphogenetic signaling. These results suggest that interactions between C. albicans and S. gordonii involve physical (adherence) and chemical (diffusible) signals that influence the development of biofilm communities. Thus, bacteria may play a significant role in modulating Candida carriage and infection processes in the oral cavity.
To correlate the morphogenic and molecular traits that affect fungal virulence in human corneas.
C. albicans wild-type strains SC5314 and VE175 were compared using in vitro growth kinetics, filamentation assays, and microarray analysis. Corneal virulence was assessed ex vivo by inoculating C. albicans onto superficially scarified human corneas that were processed after 1 and 3 days to measure hyphal penetration. For comparison, DSY459, a C. albicans homozygous deletion mutant deficient in secreted aspartyl proteinases (SAP) 4, 5, and 6, was evaluated.
C. albicans strain SC5314 was highly filamentous in vitro and more invasive in human corneal explants while VE175 demonstrated limited filamentation and less corneal invasion. Among 6,655 C. albicans genes, 9.0% significantly (p<.05) differed by 2 fold or more between SC5314 and VE175. Genes involved in fungal filamentation that were upregulated in strain SC5314 compared to VE175 included SAP5, SAP6, and other hypha-associated genes. Compared to wild-type strains, DSY459 had intermediate filamentation and stromal penetration.
Fungal genes involved in filamentation likely contribute to virulence differences between wild-type strains of C. albicans. The corneal pathogenicity of C. albicans involves the morphogenic transformation of yeasts into hyphae.
Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage is a risk factor for infection in humans, particularly in the hospital environment. Attenuation of carriage has proven effective in reducing the prevalence of infection in some high-risk groups. To study staphylococcal factors that influence nasal colonization, a mouse model of S. aureus nasal colonization was developed. Mice were inoculated intranasally with S. aureus Reynolds, and nasal carriage was evaluated by quantitating cultures of the nasal tissues from mice sacrificed at various time points after inoculation. The majority of mice inoculated with 108 CFU of S. aureus maintained nasal carriage for at least 20 days. Nasal colonization rates were similar for inbred (BALB/c and C57BL/6) and outbred (ICR) mice. Colonization was not affected by mouse passage of strain Reynolds. Lower inoculum doses (<107 CFU) resulted in reduced colonization after 7 days. However, mice given streptomycin in their drinking water developed long-term carriage of S. aureus, and they were colonized with inocula as low as 105 CFU. Nasal colonization was also established with two other S. aureus strains (one strain each of human and murine origins). S. aureus recovered from the nares of experimentally colonized mice expressed high levels of capsule, and the ability of a capsule-defective mutant to persist in the nares was reduced in comparison to that of the parent strain. This nasal colonization model should prove useful for studies of factors that mediate S. aureus colonization and for assessment of targets for antimicrobial intervention or vaccine development.
A murine model of disseminated candidiasis was utilized to determine whether Candida albicans Als proteins are produced in vivo. The kidneys, spleen, heart, liver, and lungs were collected from mice inoculated with one of three C. albicans strains (SC5314, B311, or WO-1). Immunohistochemical analysis of murine tissues by using a rabbit polyclonal anti-Als serum indicated that Als proteins were produced by each C. albicans cell in the tissues examined. Patterns of staining with the anti-Als serum were similar among the C. albicans strains tested. These data indicated that Als protein production was widespread in disseminated candidiasis and that, despite strain differences in ALS gene expression previously noted in vitro, Als protein production in vivo was similar among C. albicans strains. The extensive production of Als proteins in vivo and their presence on the C. albicans cell wall position these proteins well for a role in host-pathogen interaction.
OBJECTIVE: Gardnerella vaginalis has long been the most common pathogen associated with bacterial vaginosis (BV). We aimed to test our hypothesis that symptoms and signs of BV do not necessarily indicate colonization by this organism, and often will not respond to standard metronidazole or clindamycin treatment. METHODS: Using a relatively new molecular tool, PCR denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE), the vaginal microflora of a woman with recalcitrant signs and symptoms of BV was investigated over a 6-week timeframe. RESULTS: The vagina was colonized by pathogenic enterobacteriaceae, staphylococci and Candida albicans. The detection of the yeast by PCR-DGGE is particularly novel and enhances the ability of this tool to examine the true nature of the vaginal microflora. The patient had not responded to antifungal treatment, antibiotic therapy targeted at anaerobic Gram-negative pathogens such as Gardnerella, nor daily oral probiotic intake of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. The failure to find the GG strain in the vagina indicated it did not reach the site, and the low counts of lactobacilli demonstrated that therapy with this probiotic did not appear to influence the vaginal flora. CONCLUSIONS: BV is not well understood in terms of its causative organisms, and further studies appear warranted using non-culture, molecular methods. Only when the identities of infecting organisms are confirmed can effective therapy be devized. Such therapy may include the use of probiotic lactobacilli, but only using strains which confer a benefit on the vagina of pre- and postmenopausal women.
Oophorectomized, estrogen-treated rats were immunized by the intravaginal or intranasal route with a mannoprotein extract (MP) or secreted aspartyl proteinases (Sap) of Candida albicans, with or without cholera toxin as a mucosal adjuvant. Both routes of immunization were equally effective in (i) inducing anti-MP and anti-Sap vaginal antibodies and (ii) conferring a high degree of protection against the vaginal infection by the fungus. These data suggest that appropriate fungal antigens and adjuvant can be used to protect against candidal vaginitis, by either route.
In this study, oral administration of the triazole D0870 was compared to oral administration of fluconazole in the treatment of experimental vaginal candidiasis. With an estrogen-dependent murine model of Candida albicans vaginal infection, the effects of D0870 on several isolates, including fluconazole-susceptible and -resistant isolates, were tested. D0870, at doses of 0.5 and 2.5 mg/kg of body weight given once over the course of a 10-day infection, was effective in eradicating vaginitis caused by fluconazole-susceptible laboratory and clinical isolates, respectively. In contrast, a stricter treatment regimen (every 24 to 48 h) with 10 and 25 mg of fluconazole per kg was required to achieve similar reductions in vaginal fungal titers induced by the same isolates. Whereas fluconazole was consistently ineffective in infections induced by fluconazole-resistant isolates, as predicted by in vitro susceptibility tests, D0870 was effective, although a daily regimen of 25 mg/kg was required. Additional studies showed that despite the in vitro activity of D0870 against two clinical Candida glabrata isolates, neither D0870 nor fluconazole was effective at daily doses as high as 100 and 125 mg/kg, respectively. Taken together, although D0870 failed to show efficacy against experimental C. glabrata vaginitis, D0870 was superior to fluconazole in the treatment of experimental C. albicans vaginitis caused by isolates that were either susceptible or resistant to fluconazole.
Cell-mediated immunity by Th1-type CD4+ T cells is the predominant host defense mechanism against mucosal candidiasis. However, studies using an estrogen-dependent murine model of vaginal candidiasis have demonstrated little to no change in resident vaginal T cells during infection and no systemic T-cell infiltration despite the presence of Candida-specific systemic Th1-type responses in infected mice. The present study was designed to further investigate these observations by characterizing T-cell activation and cell adhesion molecule expression during primary and secondary C. albicans vaginal infections. While flow cytometry analysis of activation markers showed some evidence for activation of CD3+ draining lymph node and/or vaginal lymphocytes during both primary and secondary vaginal Candida infection, CD3+ cells expressing the homing receptors and integrins α4β7, αM290β7, and α4β1 in draining lymph nodes of mice with primary and secondary infections were reduced compared to results for uninfected mice. At the local level, few vaginal lymphocytes expressed integrins, with only minor changes observed during both primary and secondary infections. On the other hand, immunohistochemical analysis of vaginal cell adhesion molecule expression showed increases in mucosal addressin cell adhesion molecule 1 and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 expression during both primary and secondary infections. Altogether, these data suggest that although the vaginal tissue is permissive to cellular infiltration during a vaginal Candida infection, the reduced numbers of systemic cells expressing the reciprocal cellular adhesion molecules may preempt cellular infiltration, thereby limiting Candida-specific T-cell responses against infection.