Candida albicans rvs161Δ and rvs167Δ Endocytosis Mutants Are Defective in Invasion into the Oral Cavity.

Candida albicans rvs161Δ and rvs167Δ Endocytosis Mutants Are Defective in Invasion into the Oral Cavity.

MBio. 2019 Nov 12;10(6):

Authors: Naseem S, Douglas LM, Konopka JB

Abstract
Invasive growth in tissues by the human fungal pathogen Candida albicans is promoted by a switch from budding to hyphal morphogenesis that is stimulated by multiple environmental factors that can vary at different sites of infection. To identify genes that promote invasive growth in the oral cavity to cause oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC), we first identified C. albicans mutants that failed to invade agar medium. Analysis of nine severely defective mutants in a mouse model of OPC revealed that the strongest defects were seen for the rvs161Δ and rvs167Δ mutants, which lack amphiphysin proteins needed for endocytosis. The rvsΔ mutants initially adhered to the tongue but failed to invade efficiently and were lost from the oral cavity. Previous studies indicated that rvsΔ mutants formed filamentous hyphae in the kidney albeit with morphological abnormalities, suggesting that the rvsΔ mutants were influenced by factors that vary at different sites of infection. Consistent with this, increasing concentrations of CO2, an inducer of hyphal growth that is more abundant in internal organs than air, partially rescued the invasive-growth defects of the rvsΔ mutants in vitro Interestingly, preinduction of the rvsΔ mutants to form hyphae prior to introduction into the oral cavity restored their ability to cause OPC, identifying a key role for endocytosis in initiating invasive hyphal growth. These results highlight the influence of distinct environmental factors in promoting invasive hyphal growth in the oral cavity and indicate that blocking endocytosis could have therapeutic value in preventing the initiation of OPC.IMPORTANCE Oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC) is a common fungal infection that is associated with severe morbidity. Another concern is that patients at risk for developing OPC often take long courses of antifungal drugs, which can lead to the emergence of drug-resistant C. albicans strains. We therefore identified nine mutants with defects in undergoing invasive hyphal growth in the oral cavity, increasing the number of genes known to be involved in OPC by more than 30%. The two strongest mutants, rvs161Δ and rvs167Δ, have defects in endocytosis. The rvsΔ mutants appear to have a specific defect in initiating invasive growth, as preinducing the cells to form hyphae prior to infection restored their ability to cause OPC. These results indicate that blocking endocytosis could have therapeutic value in preventing the initiation of OPC without leading to development of resistance against drugs currently used to treat fungal infections.

PMID: 31719181 [PubMed - in process]