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Serological Profiling of a Candida albicans Protein Microarray Reveals Permanent Host-Pathogen Interplay and Stage-Specific Responses during Candidemia

  • Author(s): Mochon, A. Brian;
  • Ye, Jin;
  • Kayala, Matthew A.;
  • Wingard, John R.;
  • Clancy, Cornelius J.;
  • Nguyen, M. Hong;
  • Felgner, Philip;
  • Baldi, Pierre;
  • Liu, Haoping
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Candida albicans in the immunocompetent host is a benign member of the human microbiota. Though, when host physiology is disrupted, this commensal-host interaction can degenerate and lead to an opportunistic infection. Relatively little is known regarding the dynamics of C. albicans colonization and pathogenesis. We developed a C. albicans cell surface protein microarray to profile the immunoglobulin G response during commensal colonization and candidemia. The antibody response from the sera of patients with candidemia and our negative control groups indicate that the immunocompetent host exists in permanent host-pathogen interplay with commensal C. albicans. This report also identifies cell surface antigens that are specific to different phases (i.e. acute, early and mid convalescence) of candidemia. We identified a set of thirteen cell surface antigens capable of distinguishing acute candidemia from healthy individuals and uninfected hospital patients with commensal colonization. Interestingly, a large proportion of these cell surface antigens are involved in either oxidative stress or drug resistance. In addition, we identified 33 antigenic proteins that are enriched in convalescent sera of the candidemia patients. Intriguingly, we found within this subset an increase in antigens associated with heme-associated iron acquisition. These findings have important implications for the mechanisms of C. albicans colonization as well as the development of systemic infection.Author SummaryCandida albicans has both a benign and pathogenic association with the human host. Previous to this study, little was known in regard to how the host humoral system responds to the commensal colonization of C. albicans, as well as the development of hematogenously disseminated candidiasis. We show using a C. albicans cell surface protein microarray that the immunocompetent host exists in permanent host-pathogen interplay with commensal C. albicans, and undergoes stage-specific antibody responses as the yeast transitions from a benign microbe to an opportunistic fungal pathogen. Also identified were serological signatures specific for acute and convalescent stages of candidemia. Our findings provide new insight in the characterization of potential serodiagnostic antigens and vaccine candidates to the opportunistic pathogen C. albicans.

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