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      Virulence factors of Candida albicans

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      Trends in Microbiology

      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          Candidiasis is a common infection of the skin, oral cavity and esophagus, gastrointestinal tract, vagina and vascular system of humans. Although most infections occur in patients who are immunocompromised or debilitated in some other way, the organism most often responsible for disease, Candida albicans, expresses several virulence factors that contribute to pathogenesis. These factors include host recognition biomolecules (adhesins), morphogenesis (the reversible transition between unicellular yeast cells and filamentous, growth forms), secreted aspartyl proteases and phospholipases. Additionally, 'phenotypic switching' is accompanied by changes in antigen expression, colony morphology and tissue affinities in C. albicans and several other Candida spp. Switching might provide cells with a flexibility that results in the adaptation of the organism to the hostile conditions imposed not only by the host but also by the physician treating the infection.

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          Most cited references 51

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          Nonfilamentous C. albicans mutants are avirulent.

          Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae switch from a yeast to a filamentous form. In Saccharomyces, this switch is controlled by two regulatory proteins, Ste12p and Phd1p. Single-mutant strains, ste12/ste12 or phd1/phd1, are partially defective, whereas the ste12/ste12 phd1/phd1 double mutant is completely defective in filamentous growth and is noninvasive. The equivalent cph1/cph1 efg1/efg1 double mutant in Candida (Cph1p is the Ste12p homolog and Efg1p is the Phd1p homolog) is also defective in filamentous growth, unable to form hyphae or pseudohyphae in response to many stimuli, including serum or macrophages. This Candida cph1/cph1 efg1/efg1 double mutant, locked in the yeast form, is avirulent in a mouse model.
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            Signal transduction cascades regulating fungal development and virulence.

            Cellular differentiation, mating, and filamentous growth are regulated in many fungi by environmental and nutritional signals. For example, in response to nitrogen limitation, diploid cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae undergo a dimorphic transition to filamentous growth referred to as pseudohyphal differentiation. Yeast filamentous growth is regulated, in part, by two conserved signal transduction cascades: a mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade and a G-protein regulated cyclic AMP signaling pathway. Related signaling cascades play an analogous role in regulating mating and virulence in the plant fungal pathogen Ustilago maydis and the human fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida albicans. We review here studies on the signaling cascades that regulate development of these and other fungi. This analysis illustrates both how the model yeast S. cerevisiae can serve as a paradigm for signaling in other organisms and also how studies in other fungi provide insights into conserved signaling pathways that operate in many divergent organisms.
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              Adhesive and mammalian transglutaminase substrate properties of Candida albicans Hwp1.

              The pathogenesis of candidiasis involves invasion of host tissues by filamentous forms of the opportunistic yeast Candida albicans. Morphology-specific gene products may confer proinvasive properties. A hypha-specific surface protein, Hwp1, with similarities to mammalian small proline-rich proteins was shown to serve as a substrate for mammalian transglutaminases. Candida albicans strains lacking Hwp1 were unable to form stable attachments to human buccal epithelial cells and had a reduced capacity to cause systemic candidiasis in mice. This represents a paradigm for microbial adhesion that implicates essential host enzymes.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Trends in Microbiology
                Trends in Microbiology
                Elsevier BV
                0966842X
                July 2001
                July 2001
                : 9
                : 7
                : 327-335
                Article
                10.1016/S0966-842X(01)02094-7
                11435107
                © 2001

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