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Abstract (Expand)

Candida auris, a multidrug-resistant human fungal pathogen that causes outbreaks of invasive infections, emerged as four distinct geographical clades. Previous studies identified genomic and proteomic differences in nutrient utilization on comparison to Candida albicans, suggesting that certain metabolic features may contribute to C. auris emergence. Since no high-throughput clade-specific metabolic characterization has been described yet, we performed a phenotypic screening of C. auris strains from all 4 clades on 664 nutrients, 120 chemicals, and 24 stressors. We identified common and clade- or strain-specific responses, including the preferred utilization of various dipeptides as nitrogen source and the inability of the clade II isolate AR 0381 to withstand chemical stress. Further analysis of the metabolic properties of C. auris isolates showed robust growth on intermediates of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, such as citrate and succinic and malic acids. However, there was reduced or no growth on pyruvate, lactic acid, or acetate, likely due to the lack of the monocarboxylic acid transporter Jen1, which is conserved in most pathogenic Candida species. Comparison of C. auris and C. albicans transcriptomes of cells grown on alternative carbon sources and dipeptides as a nitrogen source revealed common as well as species-unique responses. C. auris induced a significant number of genes with no ortholog in C. albicans, e.g., genes similar to the nicotinic acid transporter TNA1 (alternative carbon sources) and to the oligopeptide transporter (OPT) family (dipeptides). Thus, C. auris possesses unique metabolic features which could have contributed to its emergence as a pathogen. IMPORTANCE Four main clades of the emerging, multidrug-resistant human pathogen Candida auris have been identified, and they differ in their susceptibilities to antifungals and disinfectants. Moreover, clade- and strain-specific metabolic differences have been identified, but a comprehensive overview of nutritional characteristics and resistance to various stressors is missing. Here, we performed high-throughput phenotypic characterization of C. auris on various nutrients, stressors, and chemicals and obtained transcriptomes of cells grown on selected nutrients. The generated data sets identified multiple clade- and strain-specific phenotypes and induction of C. auris-specific metabolic genes, showing unique metabolic properties. The presented work provides a large amount of information for further investigations that could explain the role of metabolism in emergence and pathogenicity of this multidrug-resistant fungus.

Authors: P. Brandt, M. H. Mirhakkak, L. Wagner, D. Driesch, A. Moslinger, P. Fander, S. Schauble, G. Panagiotou, S. Vylkova

Date Published: 15th Jun 2023

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Th17 cells provide protection at barrier tissues but may also contribute to immune pathology. The relevance and induction mechanisms of pathologic Th17 responses in humans are poorly understood. Here, we identify the mucocutaneous pathobiont Candida albicans as the major direct inducer of human anti-fungal Th17 cells. Th17 cells directed against other fungi are induced by cross-reactivity to C. albicans. Intestinal inflammation expands total C. albicans and cross-reactive Th17 cells. Strikingly, Th17 cells cross-reactive to the airborne fungus Aspergillus fumigatus are selectively activated and expanded in patients with airway inflammation, especially during acute allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This indicates a direct link between protective intestinal Th17 responses against C. albicans and lung inflammation caused by airborne fungi. We identify heterologous immunity to a single, ubiquitous member of the microbiota as a central mechanism for systemic induction of human anti-fungal Th17 responses and as a potential risk factor for pulmonary inflammatory diseases.

Authors: P. Bacher, T. Hohnstein, E. Beerbaum, M. Rocker, M. G. Blango, S. Kaufmann, J. Rohmel, P. Eschenhagen, C. Grehn, K. Seidel, V. Rickerts, L. Lozza, U. Stervbo, M. Nienen, N. Babel, J. Milleck, M. Assenmacher, O. A. Cornely, M. Ziegler, H. Wisplinghoff, G. Heine, M. Worm, B. Siegmund, J. Maul, P. Creutz, C. Tabeling, C. Ruwwe-Glosenkamp, L. E. Sander, C. Knosalla, S. Brunke, B. Hube, O. Kniemeyer, A. A. Brakhage, C. Schwarz, A. Scheffold

Date Published: 7th Mar 2019

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Polymorphonuclear granulocytes (PMNs) are indispensable for controlling life-threatening fungal infections. In addition to various effector mechanisms, PMNs also produce extracellular vesicles (EVs). Their contribution to antifungal defense has remained unexplored. We reveal that the clinically important human-pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus triggers PMNs to release a distinct set of antifungal EVs (afEVs). Proteome analyses indicated that afEVs are enriched in antimicrobial proteins. The cargo and the release kinetics of EVs are modulated by the fungal strain confronted. Tracking of afEVs indicated that they associated with fungal cells and even entered fungal hyphae, resulting in alterations in the morphology of the fungal cell wall and dose-dependent antifungal effects. To assess as a proof of concept whether the antimicrobial proteins found in afEVs might contribute to growth inhibition of hyphae when present in the fungal cytoplasm, two human proteins enriched in afEVs, cathepsin G and azurocidin, were heterologously expressed in fungal hyphae. This led to reduced fungal growth relative to that of a control strain producing the human retinol binding protein 7. In conclusion, extracellular vesicles produced by neutrophils in response to A. fumigatus infection are able to associate with the fungus, limit growth, and elicit cell damage by delivering antifungal cargo. This finding offers an intriguing, previously overlooked mechanism of antifungal defense against A. fumigatus IMPORTANCE Invasive fungal infections caused by the mold Aspergillus fumigatus are a growing concern in the clinic due to the increasing use of immunosuppressive therapies and increasing antifungal drug resistance. These infections result in high rates of mortality, as treatment and diagnostic options remain limited. In healthy individuals, neutrophilic granulocytes are critical for elimination of A. fumigatus from the host; however, the exact extracellular mechanism of neutrophil-mediated antifungal activity remains unresolved. Here, we present a mode of antifungal defense employed by human neutrophils against A. fumigatus not previously described. We found that extracellular vesicles produced by neutrophils in response to A. fumigatus infection are able to associate with the fungus, limit growth, and elicit cell damage by delivering antifungal cargo. In the end, antifungal extracellular vesicle biology provides a significant step forward in our understanding of A. fumigatus host pathogenesis and opens up novel diagnostic and therapeutic possibilities.

Authors: I. A. Shopova, I. Belyaev, P. Dasari, S. Jahreis, M. C. Stroe, Z. Cseresnyes, A. K. Zimmermann, A. Medyukhina, C. M. Svensson, T. Kruger, V. Szeifert, S. Nietzsche, T. Conrad, M. G. Blango, O. Kniemeyer, M. von Lilienfeld-Toal, P. F. Zipfel, E. Ligeti, M. T. Figge, A. A. Brakhage

Date Published: 14th Apr 2020

Publication Type: Not specified

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