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1.  Murine model of concurrent oral and vaginal Candida albicans colonization to study epithelial host–pathogen interactions 
We report the creation of a new low-estrogen murine model of concurrent oral and vaginal C. albicans colonization that resembles human candidal carriage at both mucosal sites. Weekly estrogen administration of 5 μg intramuscular and subcutaneously was optimal for enhancement of oral colonization and was essential for vaginal colonization. In BALB/c mice, a number of C. albicans clinical isolates (n = 3) colonized both oral and/or vaginal sites, but only strain 529L colonized 100% of mice persistently for over 5 weeks. Laboratory strains SC5314 and NCPF 3153 did not colonize the model; however, NCPF 3156 showed vaginal colonization up to week 5. Prior passaging through mice enhanced subsequent colonization of SC5314. Intranasal immunization with a C. albicans virulence antigen (secreted aspartyl proteinase 2) significantly reduced or abolished the fungal burden orally and vaginally by week 2 and 7. Our concurrent model of mucosal colonization reduces the numbers of experimental mice by half, can be used to assess potential vaccine candidates, and permits the detailed analysis of host–fungal interactions during the natural state of Candida colonization.
doi:10.1016/j.micinf.2007.01.012
PMCID: PMC3242973  PMID: 17383212
Candida albicans; Animal model; Oral; Vaginal
2.  MAPK, MKP1 and c-Fos Discriminate Candida albicans Yeast from Hyphae in Epithelial Cells 
Cell host & microbe  2010;8(3):225-235.
SUMMARY
Host mechanisms enabling discrimination between the commensal and pathogenic states of opportunistic pathogens are critical in mucosal defense and homeostasis. Here, we demonstrate that oral epithelial cells orchestrate an innate response to the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans via NF-κB and a bi-phasic MAPK response. Activation of NF-κB and the first MAPK phase, constituting c-Jun activation, is independent of morphology and due to the recognition of fungal cell wall structures. Activation of the second MAPK phase, constituting MKP1 and c-Fos activation, is dependent upon hypha-formation and fungal burdens, and correlates with proinflammatory responses. This MAPK-based discriminatory pathway may provide a mechanism for epithelial tissues to remain quiescent in the presence of low fungal burdens whilst responding specifically and strongly to damage-inducing hyphae when burdens increase. MAPK/MKP1/c-Fos activation may thus comprise a `danger response' pathway in vivo and may be critical in identifying when this normally commensal fungus has become pathogenic.
doi:10.1016/j.chom.2010.08.002
PMCID: PMC2991069  PMID: 20833374
3.  A Biphasic Innate Immune MAPK Response Discriminates between the Yeast and Hyphal Forms of Candida albicans in Epithelial Cells 
Cell Host & Microbe  2010;8(3):225-235.
Summary
Discriminating between commensal and pathogenic states of opportunistic pathogens is critical for host mucosal defense and homeostasis. The opportunistic human fungal pathogen Candida albicans is also a constituent of the normal oral flora and grows either as yeasts or hyphae. We demonstrate that oral epithelial cells orchestrate an innate response to C. albicans via NF-κB and a biphasic MAPK response. Activation of NF-κB and the first MAPK phase, constituting c-Jun activation, is independent of morphology and due to fungal cell wall recognition. Activation of the second MAPK phase, constituting MKP1 and c-Fos activation, is dependent upon hypha formation and fungal burdens and correlates with proinflammatory responses. Such biphasic response may allow epithelial tissues to remain quiescent under low fungal burdens while responding specifically and strongly to damage-inducing hyphae when burdens increase. MAPK/MKP1/c-Fos activation may represent a “danger response” pathway that is critical for identifying and responding to the pathogenic switch of commensal microbes.
Highlights
► NF-κB and MAPK control epithelial effector responses against Candida albicans ► c-Jun activation is independent of morphology and due to fungal cell wall recognition ► MAPK/MKP-1/c-Fos pathway activation is dependent on fungal hyphae and burdens ► MAPK discriminatory response may dictate C. albicans mucosal colonization in vivo
doi:10.1016/j.chom.2010.08.002
PMCID: PMC2991069  PMID: 20833374

Results 1-3 (3)