Mechanisms of Candida albicans trafficking to the brain.
ABSTRACT: 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:During hematogenously disseminated infection, blood-borne Candida albicans invades the endothelial cell lining of the vasculature to invade the deep tissues. Although the C. albicans Als3 invasin is critical for invasion and damage of endothelial cells in vitro, a C. albicans als3?/? mutant has normal virulence in the mouse model of disseminated infection. We hypothesized that the contribution of Als3 to virulence is obscured by the presence of additional C. albicans invasins. To elucidate the in vivo function of Als3, we heterologously expressed C. albicans ALS3 in Candida glabrata, a yeast that lacks a close ALS3 ortholog and has low virulence in mice. We found that following intravenous inoculation into mice, the ALS3-expressing strain preferentially trafficked to the brain, where it induced significantly elevated levels of myeloperoxidase, tumor necrosis factor, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, and gamma interferon. Also, the ALS3-expressing strain had enhanced adherence to and invasion of human brain microvascular endothelial cells in vitro, demonstrating a potential mechanism for ALS3-mediated neurotropism. In addition, upon initiation of infection, the ALS3-expressing strain had increased trafficking to the cortex of the kidneys. With prolonged infection, this strain persisted in the kidneys at significantly higher levels than the control strain but did not induce an elevated inflammatory response. Finally, the ALS3-expressing strain had increased resistance to neutrophil killing in vitro. These results indicate that during disseminated infection, Als3 mediates initial trafficking to the brain and renal cortex and contributes to fungal persistence in the kidneys.
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: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: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 causes both mucosal and disseminated infections, and its capacity to grow as both yeast and hyphae is a key virulence factor. Hyphal formation is a type of polarized growth, and members of the SR (serine-arginine) family of RNA-binding proteins influence polarized growth of both Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Aspergillus nidulans. Therefore, we investigated whether SR-like proteins affect filamentous growth and virulence of C. albicans. BLAST searches with S. cerevisiae SR-like protein Npl3 (ScNpl3) identified two C. albicans proteins: CaNpl3, an apparent ScNpl3 ortholog, and Slr1, another SR-like RNA-binding protein with no close S. cerevisiae ortholog. Whereas ScNpl3 was critical for growth, deletion of NPL3 in C. albicans resulted in few phenotypic changes. In contrast, the slr1?/? mutant had a reduced growth rate in vitro, decreased filamentation, and impaired capacity to damage epithelial and endothelial cells in vitro. Mice infected intravenously with the slr1?/? mutant strain had significantly prolonged survival compared to that of mice infected with the wild-type or slr1?/? mutant complemented with SLR1 (slr1?/?+SLR1) strain, without a concomitant decrease in kidney fungal burden. Histopathology, however, revealed differential localization of slr1?/? hyphal and yeast morphologies within the kidney. Mice infected with slr1?/? cells also had an increased brain fungal burden, which correlated with increased invasion of brain, but not umbilical vein, endothelial cells in vitro. The enhanced brain endothelial cell invasion was likely due to the increased surface exposure of the Als3 adhesin on slr1?/? cells. Our results indicate that Slr1 is an SR-like protein that influences C. albicans growth, filamentation, host cell interactions, and virulence.
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:The adhesive phenotype of Candida albicans contributes to its ability to colonize the host and cause disease. Als proteins are one of the most widely studied C. albicans virulence attributes; deletion of ALS3 produces the greatest reduction in adhesive function. Although adhesive activity is thought to reside within the N-terminal domain of Als proteins (NT-Als), the molecular mechanism of adhesion remains unclear. We designed mutations in NT-Als3 that test the contribution of the peptide-binding cavity (PBC) to C. albicans adhesion and assessed the adhesive properties of other NT-Als3 features in the absence of a functional PBC. Structural analysis of purified loss-of-PBC-function mutant proteins showed that the mutations did not alter the overall structure or surface properties of NT-Als3. The mutations were incorporated into full-length ALS3 and integrated into the ALS3 locus of a deletion mutant, under control of the native ALS3 promoter. The PBC mutant phenotype was evaluated in assays using monolayers of human pharyngeal epithelial and umbilical vein endothelial cells, and freshly collected human buccal epithelial cells in suspension. Loss of PBC function resulted in an adhesion phenotype that was indistinguishable from the Δals3/Δals3 strain. The adhesive contribution of the Als3 amyloid-forming-region (AFR) was also tested using these methods. C. albicans strains producing cell surface Als3 in which the amyloidogenic potential was destroyed showed little contribution of the AFR to adhesion, instead suggesting an aggregative function for the AFR. Collectively, these results demonstrate the essential and principal role of the PBC in Als3 adhesion.
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:The Candida albicans adhesin, Als3p, was identified as a potential cognate antigen for previously described human antibody fragments [single-chain variable fragment (scFv)] based on similarity of the binding pattern of the scFv to the distribution of this protein on the hyphal surface. Although all scFv bound avidly to wild type, scFv3 showed no detectable binding via immunofluorescence assay to strain 1843, containing a homozygous deletion of ALS3. Binding to the ALS3 reintegrant strain, 2322, was preserved, and scFv3 also bound to Saccharomyces cerevisiae expressing ALS3. Other scFv retained binding to 1843, but with a markedly altered pattern. To determine if scFv3 could interfere with Als3p function, adhesion assays were conducted using human epithelial or endothelial cells as target. Treatment of wild-type C. albicans with scFv3 reduced adhesion of the fungus to both cell types to levels comparable to the als3Delta/als3Delta mutant. These experiments confirm that phage display is a viable method to isolate human scFv specific to an antigen implicated in C. albicans virulence, and that the scFv interfere with adhesion to human cells. The altered pattern of immunostaining with other scFv that retain binding to the als3Delta/als3Delta mutant suggest that Als3p may also have a role in structural organization of the C. albicans cell surface.
Project description:In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the vacuolar protein sorting complexes Vps51/52/53/54 and Vps15/30/34/38 are essential for efficient endosome-to-Golgi complex retrograde transport. Here we investigated the function of Vps15 and Vps51, representative members of these complexes, in the stress resistance, host cell interactions, and virulence of Candida albicans. We found that C. albicans vps15?/? and vps51?/? mutants had abnormal vacuolar morphology, impaired retrograde protein trafficking, and dramatically increased susceptibility to a variety of stressors. These mutants also had reduced capacity to invade and damage oral epithelial cells in vitro and attenuated virulence in the mouse model of oropharyngeal candidiasis. Proteomic analysis of the cell wall of the vps51?/? mutant revealed increased levels of the Crh11 and Utr2 transglycosylases, which are targets of the calcineurin signaling pathway. The transcript levels of the calcineurin pathway members CHR11, UTR2, CRZ1, CNA1, and CNA2 were elevated in the vps15?/? and vps51?/? mutants. Furthermore, these strains were highly sensitive to the calcineurin-specific inhibitor FK506. Also, deletion of CHR11 and UTR2 further increased the stress susceptibility of these mutants. In contrast, overexpression of CRH11 and UTR2 partially rescued their defects in stress resistance, but not host cell interactions. Therefore, intact retrograde trafficking in C. albicans is essential for stress resistance, host cell interactions, and virulence. Aberrant retrograde trafficking stimulates the calcineurin signaling pathway, leading to the increased expression of Chr11 and Utr2, which enables C. albicans to withstand environmental stress.