Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2021 Oct 11:AAC0146721. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01467-21. Online ahead of print.
Candida albicans causes life-threatening disseminated candidiasis. Individuals at greatest risk have weakened immune systems. An outer cell wall, exopolysaccharide matrix, and biofilm rich in oligoglucans and oligomannans help Candida spp. evade host defenses. Even after antifungal treatment, the one-year mortality rate exceeds 25%. Undoubtedly, there is room to improve drug performance. The mammalian C-type lectin pathogen receptors Dectin-1 and Dectin-2 bind to fungal oligoglucans and oligomannans, respectively. We previously coated amphotericin B-loaded liposomes, AmB-LLs, pegylated analogs of AmBisome, with the ligand binding domains of these two Dectins. DectiSomes, DEC1-AmB-LLs and DEC2-AmB-LLs, showed two distinct patterns of binding to the exopolysaccharide matrix surrounding C. albicans hyphae grown in vitro. Here we showed that DectiSomes were preferentially associated with fungal colonies in the kidneys. In a neutropenic mouse model of candidiasis, DEC1-AmB-LLs and DEC2-AmB-LLs delivering only one dose of 0.2 mg/kg AmB reduced the kidney fungal burden several fold relative to AmB-LLs. DEC1-AmB-LLs and DEC2-AmB-LLs increased the percent of surviving mice 2.5-fold and 8.3-fold, respectively, relative to AmB-LLs. Dectin-2 targeting of anidulafungin loaded liposomes, DEC2-AFG-LLs, and of commercial AmBisome, DEC2-AmBisome, reduced fungal burden in the kidneys several fold over their untargeted counterparts. The data herein suggest that targeting of a variety of antifungal drugs to fungal glycans may achieve lower safer effective doses and improve drug efficacy against a variety of invasive fungal infections.