Host cell invasion and virulence mediated by Candida albicans Ssa1.
ABSTRACT: Candida albicans Ssa1 and Ssa2 are members of the HSP70 family of heat shock proteins that are expressed on the cell surface and function as receptors for antimicrobial peptides such as histatins. We investigated the role of Ssa1 and Ssa2 in mediating pathogenic host cell interactions and virulence. A C. albicans ssa1?/? mutant had attenuated virulence in murine models of disseminated and oropharyngeal candidiasis, whereas an ssa2?/? mutant did not. In vitro studies revealed that the ssa1?/? mutant caused markedly less damage to endothelial cells and oral epithelial cell lines. Also, the ssa1?/? mutant had defective binding to endothelial cell N-cadherin and epithelial cell E-cadherin, receptors that mediate host cell endocytosis of C. albicans. As a result, this mutant had impaired capacity to induce its own endocytosis by endothelial cells and oral epithelial cells. Latex beads coated with recombinant Ssa1 were avidly endocytosed by both endothelial cells and oral epithelial cells, demonstrating that Ssa1 is sufficient to induce host cell endocytosis. These results indicate that Ssa1 is a novel invasin that binds to host cell cadherins, induces host cell endocytosis, and is critical for C. albicans to cause maximal damage to host cells and induce disseminated and oropharyngeal disease.
Project description:The fungus Candida albicans is the major cause of oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC). A key feature of this disease is fungal invasion of oral epithelial cells, a process that can occur by active penetration and fungal-induced endocytosis. Two invasins, Als3 and Ssa1, induce epithelial cell endocytosis of C. albicans, in part by binding to E-cadherin. However, inhibition of E-cadherin function only partially reduces C. albicans endocytosis, suggesting that there are additional epithelial cell receptors for this organism. Here, we show that the EGF receptor (EGFR) and HER2 function cooperatively to induce the endocytosis of C. albicans hyphae. EGFR and HER2 interact with C. albicans in an Als3- and Ssa1-dependent manner, and this interaction induces receptor autophosphorylation. Signaling through both EGFR and HER2 is required for maximal epithelial cell endocytosis of C. albicans in vitro. Importantly, oral infection with C. albicans stimulates the phosphorylation of EGFR and HER2 in the oral mucosa of mice, and treatment with a dual EGFR and HER2 kinase inhibitor significantly decreases this phosphorylation and reduces the severity of OPC. These results show the importance of EGFR and HER2 signaling in the pathogenesis of OPC and indicate the feasibility of treating candidal infections by targeting the host cell receptors with which the fungus interacts.
Project description:Candida albicans is the most common cause of hematogenously disseminated and oropharyngeal candidiasis. Both of these diseases are characterized by fungal invasion of host cells. Previously, we have found that C. albicans hyphae invade endothelial cells and oral epithelial cells in vitro by inducing their own endocytosis. Therefore, we set out to identify the fungal surface protein and host cell receptors that mediate this process. We found that the C. albicans Als3 is required for the organism to be endocytosed by human umbilical vein endothelial cells and two different human oral epithelial lines. Affinity purification experiments with wild-type and an als3delta/als3delta mutant strain of C. albicans demonstrated that Als3 was required for C. albicans to bind to multiple host cell surface proteins, including N-cadherin on endothelial cells and E-cadherin on oral epithelial cells. Furthermore, latex beads coated with the recombinant N-terminal portion of Als3 were endocytosed by Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing human N-cadherin or E-cadherin, whereas control beads coated with bovine serum albumin were not. Molecular modeling of the interactions of the N-terminal region of Als3 with the ectodomains of N-cadherin and E-cadherin indicated that the binding parameters of Als3 to either cadherin are similar to those of cadherin-cadherin binding. Therefore, Als3 is a fungal invasin that mimics host cell cadherins and induces endocytosis by binding to N-cadherin on endothelial cells and E-cadherin on oral epithelial cells. These results uncover the first known fungal invasin and provide evidence that C. albicans Als3 is a molecular mimic of human cadherins.
Project description:Candida albicans invades endothelial cells by binding to N-cadherin and other cell surface receptors. This binding induces rearrangement of endothelial cell actin microfilaments, which results in the formation of pseudopods that surround the organism and pull it into the endothelial cell. Here, we investigated the role of endothelial cell septin 7 (SEPT7) in the endocytosis of C. albicans hyphae. Using confocal microscopy, we determined that SEPT7 accumulated with N-cadherin and actin microfilaments around C. albicans as it was endocytosed by endothelial cells. Affinity purification studies indicated that a complex containing N-cadherin and SEPT7 was recruited by C. albicans and that formation of this complex around C. albicans was mediated by the fungal Als3 and Ssa1 invasins. Knockdown of N-cadherin by small interfering RNA (siRNA) reduced recruitment of SEPT7 to C. albicans, suggesting that N-cadherin functions as a link between SEPT7 and the fungus. Also, depolymerization of actin microfilaments with cytochalasin D decreased the association between SEPT7 and N-cadherin and inhibited recruitment of both SEPT7 and N-cadherin to C. albicans, indicating the necessity of an intact cytoskeleton in the functional interaction between SEPT7 and N-cadherin. Importantly, knockdown of SEPT7 decreased accumulation of N-cadherin around C. albicans in intact endothelial cells and reduced binding of N-cadherin to this organism, as revealed by the affinity purification assay. Furthermore, SEPT7 knockdown significantly inhibited the endocytosis of C. albicans. Therefore, in response to C. albicans infection, SEPT7 forms a complex with endothelial cell N-cadherin, is required for normal accumulation of N-cadherin around C. albicans hyphae, and is necessary for maximal endocytosis of the organism.During hematogenously disseminated infection, Candida albicans invades the endothelial cell lining of the blood vessels to invade the deep tissues. C. albicans can invade endothelial cells by inducing its own endocytosis, which is triggered when the C. albicans Als3 and Ssa1 invasins bind to N-cadherin on the endothelial cell surface. How this binding induces endocytosis is incompletely understood. Septins are intracellular GTP-binding proteins that influence the function and localization of cell surface proteins. We found that C. albicans Als3 and Ssa1 bind to a complex containing N-cadherin and septin 7, which in turn interacts with endothelial cell microfilaments, thereby inducing endocytosis of the organism. The key role of septin 7 in governing receptor-mediated endocytosis is likely relevant to host cell invasion by other microbial pathogens, in addition to C. albicans.
Project description:Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC), caused predominantly by Candida albicans, is a prevalent infection in patients with advanced AIDS, defects in Th17 immunity, and head and neck cancer. A characteristic feature of OPC is fungal invasion of the oral epithelial cells. One mechanism by which C. albicans hyphae can invade oral epithelial cells is by expressing the Als3 and Ssa1 invasins that interact with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on epithelial cells and stimulate endocytosis of the organism. However, the signaling pathways that function downstream of EGFR and mediate C. albicans endocytosis are poorly defined. Here, we report that C. albicans infection activates the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), leading to activation of Src family kinases (SFKs), which in turn phosphorylate EGFR and induce endocytosis of the fungus. Furthermore, treatment of oral epithelial cells with interferon gamma inhibits fungal endocytosis by inducing the synthesis of kynurenines, which cause prolonged activation of AhR and SFKs, thereby interfering with C. albicans-induced EGFR signaling. Treatment of both immunosuppressed and immunocompetent mice with an AhR inhibitor decreases phosphorylation of SFKs and EGFR in the oral mucosa, reduces fungal invasion, and lessens the severity of OPC. Thus, our data indicate that AhR plays a central role in governing the pathogenic interactions of C. albicans with oral epithelial cells during OPC and suggest that this receptor is a potential therapeutic target.IMPORTANCE OPC is caused predominantly by the fungus C. albicans, which can invade the oral epithelium by several mechanisms. One of these mechanisms is induced endocytosis, which is stimulated when fungal invasins bind to epithelial cell receptors such as EGFR. Receptor binding causes rearrangement of epithelial cell microfilaments, leading to the formation of pseudopods that engulf the fungus and pull it into the epithelial cell. We discovered AhR acts via SFKs to phosphorylate EGFR and induce the endocytosis of C. albicans Our finding that a small molecule inhibitor of AhR ameliorates OPC in mice suggests that a strategy of targeting host cell signaling pathways that govern epithelial cell endocytosis of C. albicans holds promise as a new approach to preventing or treating OPC.
Project description:Candida albicans is a major cause of oropharyngeal, vulvovaginal and haematogenously disseminated candidiasis. Endocytosis of C. albicans hyphae by host cells is a prerequisite for tissue invasion. This internalization involves interactions between the fungal invasin Als3 and host E- or N-cadherin. Als3 shares some structural similarity with InlA, a major invasion protein of the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. InlA mediates entry of L. monocytogenes into host cells through binding to E-cadherin. A role in internalization, for a non-classical stimulation of the clathrin-dependent endocytosis machinery, was recently highlighted. Based on the similarities between the C. albicans and L. monocytogenes invasion proteins, we studied the role of clathrin in the internalization of C. albicans. Using live-cell imaging and indirect immunofluorescence of epithelial cells infected with C. albicans, we observed that host E-cadherin, clathrin, dynamin and cortactin accumulated at sites of C. albicans internalization. Similarly, in endothelial cells, host N-cadherin, clathrin and cortactin accumulated at sites of fungal endocytosis. Furthermore, clathrin, dynamin or cortactin depletion strongly inhibited C. albicans internalization by epithelial cells. Finally, beads coated with Als3 were internalized in a clathrin-dependent manner. These data indicate that C. albicans, like L. monocytogenes, hijacks the clathrin-dependent endocytic machinery to invade host cells.
Project description:Plus-strand RNA virus replication occurs via the assembly of viral replicase complexes involving multiple viral and host proteins. To identify host proteins present in the cucumber necrosis tombusvirus (CNV) replicase, we affinity purified functional viral replicase complexes from yeast. Mass spectrometry analysis of proteins resolved by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis revealed the presence of CNV p33 and p92 replicase proteins as well as four major host proteins in the CNV replicase. The host proteins included the Ssa1/2p molecular chaperones (yeast homologues of Hsp70 proteins), Tdh2/3p (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, an RNA-binding protein), Pdc1p (pyruvate decarboxylase), and an unknown approximately 35-kDa acidic protein. Copurification experiments demonstrated that Ssa1p bound to p33 replication protein in vivo, and surface plasmon resonance measurements with purified recombinant proteins confirmed this interaction in vitro. The double mutant strain (ssa1 ssa2) showed 75% reduction in viral RNA accumulation, whereas overexpression of either Ssa1p or Ssa2p stimulated viral RNA replication by approximately threefold. The activity of the purified CNV replicase correlated with viral RNA replication in the above-mentioned ssa1 ssa2 mutant and in the Ssa overexpression strains, suggesting that Ssa1/2p likely plays an important role in the assembly of the CNV replicase.
Project description:During hematogenously disseminated disease, Candida albicans infects most organs, including the brain. We discovered that a C. albicans vps51?/? mutant had significantly increased tropism for the brain in the mouse model of disseminated disease. To investigate the mechanisms of this enhanced trafficking to the brain, we studied the interactions of wild-type C. albicans and the vps51?/? mutant with brain microvascular endothelial cells in vitro. These studies revealed that C. albicans invasion of brain endothelial cells is mediated by the fungal invasins, Als3 and Ssa1. Als3 binds to the gp96 heat shock protein, which is expressed on the surface of brain endothelial cells, but not human umbilical vein endothelial cells, whereas Ssa1 binds to a brain endothelial cell receptor other than gp96. The vps51?/? mutant has increased surface expression of Als3, which is a major cause of the increased capacity of this mutant to both invade brain endothelial cells in vitro and traffic to the brain in mice. Therefore, during disseminated disease, C. albicans traffics to and infects the brain by binding to gp96, a unique receptor that is expressed specifically on the surface of brain endothelial cells.
Project description:Several cellular chaperones have been shown to affect the propagation of the yeast prions [PSI(+)], [PIN(+)] and [URE3]. Ssa1 and Ssa2 are Hsp70 family chaperones that generally cause pro-[PSI(+)] effects, since dominant-negative mutants of Ssa1 or Ssa2 cure [PSI(+)], and overexpression of Ssa1 enhances de novo [PSI(+)] appearance and prevents curing by excess Hsp104. In contrast, Ssa1 was shown to have anti-[URE3] effects, since overexpression of Ssa1 cures [URE3]. Here we show that excess Ssa1 or Ssa2 can also cure [PSI(+)]. This curing is enhanced in the presence of [PIN(+)]. During curing, Sup35-GFP fluorescent aggregates get bigger and fewer in number, which leads to their being diluted out during cell division, a phenotype that was also observed during the curing of [PSI(+)] by certain variants of [PIN(+)]. The sizes of the detergent-resistant [PSI(+)] prion oligomers increase during [PSI(+)] curing by excess Ssa1. Excess Ssa1 likewise leads to an increase in oligomer sizes of low, medium and very high [PIN(+)] variants. While these phenotypes are also caused by inhibition of Hsp104 or Sis1, the overexpression of Ssa1 did not cause any change in Hsp104 or Sis1 levels.
Project description:Candida albicans interacts with oral epithelial cells during oropharyngeal candidiasis and with vascular endothelial cells when it disseminates hematogenously. We set out to identify C. albicans genes that govern interactions with these host cells in vitro. The transcriptional response of C. albicans to the FaDu oral epithelial cell line and primary endothelial cells was determined by microarray analysis. Contact with epithelial cells caused a decrease in transcript levels of genes related to protein synthesis and adhesion, whereas contact with endothelial cells did not significantly influence any specific functional category of genes. Many genes whose transcripts were increased in response to either host cell had not been previously characterized. We constructed mutants with homozygous insertions in 22 of these uncharacterized genes to investigate their function during host-pathogen interaction. By this approach, we found that YCK2, VPS51, and UEC1 are required for C. albicans to cause normal damage to epithelial cells and resist antimicrobial peptides. YCK2 is also necessary for maintenance of cell polarity. VPS51 is necessary for normal vacuole formation, resistance to multiple stressors, and induction of maximal endothelial cell damage. UEC1 encodes a unique protein that is required for resistance to cell membrane stress. Therefore, some C. albicans genes whose transcripts are increased upon contact with epithelial or endothelial cells are required for the organism to damage these cells and withstand the stresses that it likely encounters during growth in the oropharynx and bloodstream.
Project description:Rad9 functions in the DNA-damage checkpoint pathway of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In whole-cell extracts, Rad9 is found in large, soluble complexes, which have functions in amplifying the checkpoint signal. The two main soluble forms of Rad9 complexes that are found in cells exposed to DNA-damaging treatments were purified to homogeneity. Both of these Rad9 complexes contain the Ssa1 and/or Ssa2 chaperone proteins, suggesting a function for these proteins in checkpoint regulation. Consistent with this possibility, genetic experiments indicate redundant functions for SSA1 and SSA2 in survival, G2/M-checkpoint regulation, and phosphorylation of both Rad9 and Rad53 after irradiation with ultraviolet light. Ssa1 and Ssa2 can now be considered as novel checkpoint proteins that are likely to be required for remodelling Rad9 complexes during checkpoint-pathway activation.