Differential role of NK cells against Candida albicans infection in immunocompetent or immunocompromised mice
Little is known regarding the role of NK cells during primary and secondary disseminated Candida albicans infection. We assessed the role of NK cells for host defense against candidiasis in immunocompetent, … as well as immunodeficient, hosts. Surprisingly, depletion of NK cells in immunocompetent WT mice did not increase susceptibility to systemic candidiasis, suggesting that NK cells are redundant for antifungal defense in otherwise immunocompetent hosts. NK-cell-depleted mice were found to be protected as a consequence of attenuation of systemic inflammation. In contrast, the absence of NK cells in T/B/NK-cell-deficient NSG (NOD SCID gamma) mice led to an increased susceptibility to both primary and secondary systemic C. albicans infections compared with T/B-cell-deficient SCID mice. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that NK cells are an essential and nonredundant component of anti-C. albicans host defense in immunosuppressed hosts with defective T/B-lymphocyte immunity, while contributing to hyperinflammation in immunocompetent hosts. The discovery of the importance of NK cells in hosts with severe defects of adaptive immunity might have important consequences for the design of adjunctive immunotherapeutic approaches in systemic C. albicans infections targeting NK-cell function.
Date Published: 27th May 2014
Journal: Eur J Immunol
Human fungal pathogens are distributed throughout their kingdom, suggesting that pathogenic potential evolved independently. Candida albicans is the most virulent member of the CUG clade of yeasts and … a common cause of both superficial and invasive infections. We therefore hypothesized that C. albicans possesses distinct pathogenicity mechanisms. In silico genome subtraction and comparative transcriptional analysis identified a total of 65 C. albicans-specific genes (ASGs) expressed during infection. Phenotypic characterization of six ASG-null mutants demonstrated that these genes are dispensable for in vitro growth but play defined roles in host-pathogen interactions. Based on these analyses, we investigated two ASGs in greater detail. An orf19.6688Delta mutant was found to be fully virulent in a mouse model of disseminated candidiasis and to induce higher levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) following incubation with murine macrophages. A pga16Delta mutant, on the other hand, exhibited attenuated virulence. Moreover, we provide evidence that secondary filamentation events (multiple hyphae emerging from a mother cell and hyphal branching) contribute to pathogenicity: PGA16 deletion did not influence primary hypha formation or extension following contact with epithelial cells; however, multiple hyphae and hyphal branching were strongly reduced. Significantly, these hyphae failed to damage host cells as effectively as the multiple hypha structures formed by wild-type C. albicans cells. Together, our data show that species-specific genes of a eukaryotic pathogen can play important roles in pathogenicity.
Date Published: 7th Mar 2014
Journal: Eukaryot Cell