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Abstract (Expand)

Candida species are a major cause of invasive fungal infections. While Candida albicans, C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, and C. tropicalis are the most dominant species causing life-threatening candidiasis, C. auris recently emerged as a new species causing invasive infections with high rates of clinical treatment failures. To mimic initial phases of systemic Candida infections with dissemination via the bloodstream and to elucidate the pathogenic potential of C. auris, we used an ex vivo whole blood infection model. Similar to other clinically relevant Candida spp., C. auris is efficiently killed in human blood, but showed characteristic patterns of immune cell association, survival rates, and cytokine induction. Dual-species transcriptional profiling of C. auris-infected blood revealed a unique C. auris gene expression program during infection, while the host response proofed similar and conserved compared to other Candida species. C. auris-specific responses included adaptation and survival strategies, such as counteracting oxidative burst of immune cells, but also expression of potential virulence factors, (drug) transporters, and cell surface-associated genes. Despite comparable pathogenicity to other Candida species in our model, C. auris-specific transcriptional adaptations as well as its increased stress resistance and long-term environmental survival, likely contribute to the high risk of contamination and distribution in a nosocomial setting. Moreover, infections of neutrophils with pre-starved C. auris cells suggest that environmental preconditioning can have modulatory effects on the early host interaction. In summary, we present novel insights into C. auris pathogenicity, revealing adaptations to human blood and environmental niches distinctive from other Candida species.

Authors: S. Allert, D. Schulz, P. Kammer, P. Grossmann, T. Wolf, S. Schauble, G. Panagiotou, S. Brunke, B. Hube

Date Published: 10th Feb 2022

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Mucormycosis is an emergent, fatal fungal infection of humans and warm-blooded animals caused by species of the order Mucorales. Immune cells of the innate immune system serve as the first line of defence against inhaled spores. Alveolar macrophages were challenged with the mucoralean fungus Lichtheimia corymbifera and subjected to biotinylation and streptavidin enrichment procedures followed by LC-MS/MS analyses. A total of 28 host proteins enriched for binding to macrophage-L. corymbifera interaction. Among those, the HSP70-family protein Hspa8 was found to be predominantly responsive to living and heat-killed spores of a virulent and an attenuated strain of L. corymbifera. Confocal scanning laser microscopy of infected macrophages revealed colocalization of Hspa8 with phagocytosed spores of L. corymbifera. The amount of detectable Hspa8 was dependent on the multiplicity of infection. Incubation of alveolar macrophages with an anti-Hspa8 antibody prior to infection reduced their capability to phagocytose spores of L. corymbifera. In contrast, anti-Hspa8 antibodies did not abrogate the phagocytosis of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia by macrophages. These results suggest an important contribution of the heat-shock family protein Hspa8 in the recognition of spores of the mucoralean fungus L. corymbifera by host alveolar macrophages and define a potential immunomodulatory therapeutic target.

Authors: M. I. A. Hassan, J. M. Kruse, T. Kruger, H. M. Dahse, Z. Cseresnyes, M. G. Blango, H. Slevogt, F. Horhold, V. Ast, R. Konig, M. T. Figge, O. Kniemeyer, A. A. Brakhage, K. Voigt

Date Published: 26th Jun 2020

Publication Type: Not specified

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