Lipidomics and in vitro azole resistance in Candida albicans.
ABSTRACT: We have shown earlier that fluconazole (FLC) stress induces global changes in the lipidome of Candida albicans in clinically adapted isolates. However, several laboratories have developed adapted in vitro FLC resistant strains of C. albicans to study azole resistance mechanisms. This study aimed to identify the lipid changes associated with FLC resistance in these in vitro adapted isolates. Using comparative lipidomics and principal component and discriminant analyses, we observed gradual changes in several lipid classes and molecular species upon FLC exposure of in vitro resistant C. albicans strains. Although the lipid imprint of FLC in vitro resistant isolates was very distinct from that of clinical isolates of C. albicans, the overall changes in lipid class compositions were similar in both cases. For example, an increased sterol content and depleted sphingolipid levels were the salient features of FLC resistance in both conditions. Taken together, it appears that the overall cellular lipid homeostasis is a critical factor in the observed FLC resistance and in handling FLC stress in both clinical and laboratory situations. The new observations reported herein have implications for more efficacious antifungal drug development as well as understanding host-infectious agent interactions in postgenomics microbiology practice.
Project description:Prolonged usage of antifungal azoles which target enzymes involved in lipid biosynthesis invariably leads to the development of multi-drug resistance (MDR) in Candida albicans. We had earlier shown that membrane lipids and their fluidity are closely linked to the MDR phenomenon. In one of our recent studies involving comparative lipidomics between azole susceptible (AS) and azole resistant (AR) matched pair clinical isolates of C. albicans, we could not see consistent differences in the lipid profiles of AS and AR strains because they came from different patients and so in this study, we have used genetically related variant recovered from the same patient collected over a period of 2-years. During this time, the levels of fluconazole (FLC) resistance of the strain increased by over 200-fold. By comparing the lipid profiles of select isolates, we were able to observe gradual and statistically significant changes in several lipid classes, particularly in plasma membrane microdomain specific lipids such as mannosylinositolphosphorylceramides and ergosterol, and in a mitochondrial specific phosphoglyceride, phosphatidyl glycerol. Superimposed with these quantitative and qualitative changes in the lipid profiles, were simultaneous changes at the molecular lipid species levels which again coincided with the development of resistance to FLC. Reverse transcriptase-PCR of the key genes of the lipid metabolism validated lipidomic picture. Taken together, this study illustrates how the gradual corrective changes in Candida lipidome correspond to the development of FLC tolerance. Our study also shows a first instance of the mitochondrial membrane dysfunction and defective cell wall (CW) in clinical AR isolates of C. albicans, and provides evidence of a cross-talk between mitochondrial lipid homeostasis, CW integrity and azole tolerance.
Project description:Candida tropicalis is less commonly isolated from clinical specimens than Candida albicans. Unlike C. albicans, which can be occasionally found as a commensal, C. tropicalis is almost always associated with the development of fungal infections. In addition, C. tropicalis has been reported to be resistant to fluconazole (FLC). To analyze the development of FLC resistance in C. tropicalis, an FLC-susceptible strain (ATCC 750) (MIC = 1.0 microg/ml) was cultured in liquid medium containing increasing FLC concentrations from 8.0 to 128 microg/ml. The strain developed variable degrees of FLC resistance which paralleled the concentrations of FLC used in the medium. The highest MICs of FLC were 16, 256, and 512 microg/ml for strains grown in medium with 8.0, 32, and 128 microg of FLC per ml, respectively. Development of resistance was rapid and could be observed already after a single subculture in azole-containing medium. The resistant strains were cross-resistant to itraconazole (MIC > 1.0 microg/ml) and terbinafine (MIC > 512 microg/ml) but not to amphotericin B. Isolates grown in FLC at concentrations of 8.0 and 32 microg/ml reverted to low MICs (1.0 microg/ml) after 12 and 11 passages in FLC-free medium, respectively. The MIC for one isolate grown in FLC (128 microg/ml) (128 R) reverted to 16 microg/ml but remained stable over 60 passages in FLC-free medium. Azole-resistant isolates revealed upregulation of two different multidrug efflux transporter genes: the major facilitators gene MDR1 and the ATP-binding cassette transporter CDR1. The development of FLC resistance in vitro correlated well with the results obtained in an experimental model of disseminated candidiasis. While FLC given at 10 mg/kg of body weight/day was effective in reducing the fungal burden of mice infected with the parent strain, the same dosing regimen was ineffective in mice infected with strain 128 R. Finally, the acquisition of in vitro FLC resistance in strain 128 R was related to a loss of virulence. The results of our study elucidate important characteristics and potential mechanisms of FLC resistance in C. tropicalis.
Project description:In Candida albicans, the ERG11 gene encodes lanosterol demethylase, the target of the azole antifungals. Mutations in ERG11 that result in an amino acid substitution alter the abilities of the azoles to bind to and inhibit Erg11, resulting in resistance. Although ERG11 mutations have been observed in clinical isolates, the specific contributions of individual ERG11 mutations to azole resistance in C. albicans have not been widely explored. We sequenced ERG11 in 63 fluconazole (FLC)-resistant clinical isolates. Fifty-five isolates carried at least one mutation in ERG11, and we observed 26 distinct positions in which amino acid substitutions occurred. We mapped the 26 distinct variant positions in these alleles to four regions in the predicted structure for Erg11, including its predicted catalytic site, extended fungus-specific external loop, proximal surface, and proximal surface-to-heme region. In total, 31 distinct ERG11 alleles were recovered, with 10 ERG11 alleles containing a single amino acid substitution. We then characterized 19 distinct ERG11 alleles by introducing them into the wild-type azole-susceptible C. albicans SC5314 strain and testing them for susceptibilities to FLC, itraconazole (ITC), and voriconazole (VRC). The strains that were homozygous for the single amino acid substitutions Y132F, K143R, F145L, S405F, D446E, G448E, F449V, G450E, and G464S had a ? 4-fold increase in FLC MIC. The strains that were homozygous for several double amino acid substitutions had decreased azole susceptibilities beyond those conferred by any single amino acid substitution. These findings indicate that mutations in ERG11 are prevalent among azole-resistant clinical isolates and that most mutations result in appreciable changes in FLC and VRC susceptibilities.
Project description:Candida dubliniensis is a newly identified species of Candida that is phenotypically similar to but genetically distinct from C. albicans. This organism has been recovered with increasing frequency from the oral cavities of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and AIDS patients and has been implicated as a causative agent of oral candidiasis and systemic disease. In the present study we characterized the molecular mechanisms of resistance to fluconazole (FLC) in C. dubliniensis clinical isolates from two different HIV-infected patients with oropharyngeal candidiasis. Isolates were identified to the species level by phenotypic and genotypic tests. DNA-typing techniques were used to assess strain identity. Antifungal susceptibility testing was performed by NCCLS techniques. Northern blotting analysis was used to monitor the expression of genes encoding lanosterol demethylase (ERG11) and efflux transporters (CDR and MDR1) in matched sets of C. dubliniensis-susceptible and -resistant isolates by using probes generated from their homologous C. albicans sequences. In addition, ERG11 genes were amplified by PCR, and their nucleotide sequences were determined in order to detect point mutations with a possible effect in the affinity for azoles. Decreasing susceptibilities to FLC were detected in C. dubliniensis isolates recovered from both patients during the course of treatment. FLC-resistant C. dubliniensis isolates from one patient demonstrated combined upregulation of the MDR1, CDR1, and ERG11 genes. Among the isolates from the second patient, all isolates showing decreased susceptibility to FLC demonstrated upregulation of MDR1, whereas the levels of mRNA for the ERG11 genes remained constant and the expression of CDR genes was negligible. Fourteen point mutations were found in the ERG11 genes of the isolates with decreased susceptibility to FLC. These data demonstrate that the development of azole resistance in C. dublinensis clinical isolates from HIV-infected patients treated with FLC is mediated by multiple molecular mechanisms of resistance, similar to the observations found in the case of C. albicans.
Project description:Despite the wealth of knowledge regarding the mechanisms of action and the mechanisms of resistance to azole antifungals, very little is known about how the azoles are imported into pathogenic fungal cells. Here the in-vitro accumulation and import of Fluconazole (FLC) was examined in the pathogenic fungus, Candida albicans. In energized cells, FLC accumulation correlates inversely with expression of ATP-dependent efflux pumps. In de-energized cells, all strains accumulate FLC, suggesting that FLC import is not ATP-dependent. The kinetics of import in de-energized cells displays saturation kinetics with a K(m) of 0.64 ?M and V(max) of 0.0056 pmol/min/10? cells, demonstrating that FLC import proceeds via facilitated diffusion through a transporter rather than passive diffusion. Other azoles inhibit FLC import on a mole/mole basis, suggesting that all azoles utilize the same facilitated diffusion mechanism. An analysis of related compounds indicates that competition for azole import depends on an aromatic ring and an imidazole or triazole ring together in one molecule. Import of FLC by facilitated diffusion is observed in other fungi, including Cryptococcus neoformans, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and Candida krusei, indicating that the mechanism of transport is conserved among fungal species. FLC import was shown to vary among Candida albicans resistant clinical isolates, suggesting that altered facilitated diffusion may be a previously uncharacterized mechanism of resistance to azole drugs.
Project description:Our previous study demonstrated berberine (BBR) and fluconazole (FLC) used concomitantly exhibited a synergism against FLC-resistant Candida albicans in vitro. We also suggested BBR played a major antifungal role in the synergism of FLC and BBR, while FLC increased intracellular BBR concentrations. Our following systematic structural modification and reconstruction of BBR core identified the novel scaffold of N-(2-(benzo[d][1,3]dioxol-5-yl)ethyl)-2-(substituted phenyl)acet-amide derivatives 7a-i, including B-7b and B-7d exhibiting remarkable synergistic antifungal activity and low cytotoxicity. Here, the study mainly investigated the synergistic activity of FLC and B-7b and the underlying mechanism. In vitro interaction of FLC and B-7b was investigated against 30 FLC-resistant clinical isolates of C. albicans and non-C. albicans species, including Candida tropicalis, Candida parapsilosis, Candida glabrata, Candida krusei and Cryptococcus neoformans. The potent synergistic activity of B-7b in combination with FLC against FLC-resistant C. albicans was found through the checkerboard microdilution assay. The findings of agar diffusion tests and time-kill curves confirmed its better synergism with FLC. And as expected, B-7b exhibited much lower cytotoxicity than BBR to human umbilical vein endothelial cells. In contrast to BBR, we found that endogenous ROS augmentation was not involved in the synergism of FLC and B-7b. According to the results from our present comparative proteomic study, it seemed that the disruption of protein folding and processing and the weakening of cells' self-defensive ability contributed to the synergism of FLC and B-7b. Together, these results suggested novel scaffold BBR derivative B-7b could be a promising synergist in combination with FLC for the treatment of invasive fungal infections.
Project description:<i>Candida albicans</i> is an important human pathogen and a major concern in intensive care units around the world. <i>C. albicans</i> infections are associated with a high mortality despite the use of antifungal treatments. One of the causes of therapeutic failures is the acquisition of antifungal resistance by mutations in the <i>C. albicans</i> genome. Fluconazole (FLC) is one of the most widely used antifungal and mechanisms of FLC resistance occurring by mutations have been extensively investigated. However, some clinical isolates are known to be able to survive at high FLC concentrations without acquiring resistance mutations, a phenotype known as tolerance. Mechanisms behind FLC tolerance are not well studied, mainly due to the lack of a proper way to identify and quantify tolerance in clinical isolates. We proposed here culture conditions to investigate FLC tolerance as well as an easy and efficient method to identity and quantify tolerance to FLC. The screening of <i>C. albicans</i> strain collections revealed that FLC tolerance is pH- and strain-dependent, suggesting the involvement of multiple mechanisms. Here, we addressed the identification of FLC tolerance mediators in <i>C. albicans</i> by an overexpression strategy focusing on 572 <i>C. albicans</i> genes. This strategy led to the identification of two transcription factors, <i>CRZ1</i> and <i>GZF3</i>. <i>CRZ1</i> is a C2H2-type transcription factor that is part of the calcineurin-dependent pathway in <i>C. albicans</i>, while <i>GZF3</i> is a GATA-type transcription factor of unknown function in <i>C. albicans</i>. Overexpression of each gene resulted in an increase of FLC tolerance, however, only the deletion of <i>CRZ1</i> in clinical FLC-tolerant strains consistently decreased their FLC tolerance. Transcription profiling of clinical isolates with variable levels of FLC tolerance confirmed a calcineurin-dependent signature in these isolates when exposed to FLC.
Project description:Identification of major glucan-associated proteins (GAPs) of the cell wall of a number of Candida albicans isolates susceptible or resistant to fluconazole (FLC) was addressed by direct sequencing of the protein bands resolved by unidimensional gel electrophoresis. Changes in the GAP compositions of the different strains grown in the presence of the drug were also investigated. In the FLC-susceptible strains, the major (more abundant) GAPs were enolase (46 kDa), two isoforms of phosphoglyceromutase (32 and 29 kDa), and two beta-(1-3)-exoglucanases (44 and 34 kDa), one of which (the 34-kDa component) was glycosylated. When these strains were grown in the presence of FLC there were substantial decreases in the intensities of the two enzymes of the glycolytic pathway (enolase and the phosphoglyceromutases), which were apparently replaced by enhancement of the exoglucanase constituents, particularly the 44-kDa one. This GAP pattern closely mimicked that observed in the FLC-resistant strains whether they were grown in the presence or in the absence of the drug. Both the enolase and the exoglucanase constituents were detected in the culture supernatants of FLC-treated cells, together with substantial amounts of highly glycosylated, probably mannoprotein secretory material, suggesting that FLC may cause marked alterations of GAP incorporation into the cell wall. Altogether, we were able to identify all major GAP constituents and monitor their distributions in the cell wall of C. albicans during treatment with FLC. The near equivalence of the GAP profile for the FLC-susceptible strain grown in the presence of FLC to that for the FLC-resistant strain suggests that the effects of the drug on GAPs may be stably incorporated into the cell wall of the fungus upon acquisition of resistance.
Project description:In vitro time-kill studies and a rabbit model of endocarditis and pyelonephritis were used to define the impact that the order of exposure of Candida albicans to fluconazole (FLC) and amphotericin B (AMB), as sequential and combination therapies, had on the susceptibility of C. albicans to AMB and on the outcome. The contribution of FLC-induced resistance to AMB for C. albicans also was assessed. In vitro, AMB monotherapy rapidly killed each of four C. albicans strains; FLC alone was fungistatic. Preincubation of these fungi with FLC for 18 h prior to exposure to AMB decreased their susceptibilities to AMB for 8 to >40 h. Induced resistance to AMB was transient, but the duration of resistance increased with the length of FLC preincubation. Yeast sequentially incubated with FLC followed by AMB plus FLC (FLC-->AMB+FLC) showed fungistatic growth kinetics similar to that of fungi that were exposed to FLC alone. This antagonistic effect persisted for at least 24 h. Simultaneous exposure of C. albicans to AMB and FLC [AMB+FLC(simult)] demonstrated activity similar to that with AMB alone for AMB concentrations of > or =1 microg/ml; antagonism was seen using an AMB concentration of 0.5 microg/ml. The in vitro findings accurately predicted outcomes in our rabbit infection model. In vivo, AMB monotherapy and treatment with AMB for 24 h followed by AMB plus FLC (AMB-->AMB+FLC) rapidly sterilized kidneys and cardiac vegetations. AMB+FLC(simult) and FLC-->AMB treatments were slower in clearing fungi from infected tissues. FLC monotherapy and FLC-->AMB+FLC were both fungistatic and were the least active regimens. No adverse interaction was observed between AMB and FLC for the AMB-->FLC regimen. However, FLC-->AMB treatment was slower than AMB alone in clearing fungi from tissues. Thus, our in vitro and in vivo studies both demonstrate that preexposure of C. albicans to FLC reduces fungal susceptibility to AMB. The length of FLC preexposure and whether AMB is subsequently used alone or in combination with FLC determine the duration of induced resistance to AMB.
Project description:Azoles are antifungal drugs used to treat fungal infections such as candidiasis in humans. Their extensive use has led to the emergence of drug resistance, complicating antifungal therapy for yeast infections in critically ill patients. Combination therapy has become popular in clinical practice as a potential strategy to fight resistant fungal isolates. Recently, amphiphilic tobramycin analogues, C12 and C14, were shown to display antifungal activities. Herein, the antifungal synergy of C12 and C14 with four azoles, fluconazole (FLC), itraconazole (ITC), posaconazole (POS), and voriconazole (VOR), was examined against seven Candida albicans strains. All tested strains were synergistically inhibited by C12 when combined with azoles, with the exception of C. albicans 64124 and MYA-2876 by FLC and VOR. Likewise, when combined with POS and ITC, C14 exhibited synergistic growth inhibition of all C. albicans strains, except C. albicans MYA-2876 by ITC. The combinations of FLC-C14 and VOR-C14 showed synergistic antifungal effect against three C. albicans and four C. albicans strains, respectively. Finally, synergism between C12/C14 and POS were confirmed by time-kill and disk diffusion assays. These results suggest the possibility of combining C12 or C14 with azoles to treat invasive fungal infections at lower administration doses or with a higher efficiency.