Virulence. 2021 Dec;12(1):1063-1075. doi: 10.1080/21505594.2021.1908765.
Candida auris is an emerging multidrug-resistant fungal pathogen responsible for nosocomial outbreaks of invasive candidiasis. Although several studies on the pathogenicity of this species have been reported, the knowledge on C. auris virulence is still limited. This study aims to analyze the pathogenicity of C. auris, using one aggregating isolate and eleven non-aggregating isolates from different clinical origins (blood, urine and oropharyngeal specimens) in two alternative host models of candidiasis: Caenorhabditis elegans and Galleria mellonella. Furthermore, possible associations between virulence, aggregation, biofilm-forming capacity, and clinical origin were assessed. The aggregating phenotype isolate was less virulent in both in vivo invertebrate infection models than non-aggregating isolates but showed higher capacity to form biofilms. Blood isolates were significantly more virulent than those isolated from urine and respiratory specimens in the G. mellonella model of candidiasis. We conclude that both models of candidiasis present pros and cons but prove useful to evaluate the virulence of C. auris in vivo. Both models also evidence the heterogeneity in virulence that this species can develop, which may be influenced by the aggregative phenotype and clinical origin.