Exploitation of an insect model to investigate nutrient controlled virulence of Candida albicans

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2008
End date: 31/12/2010
Funding: 1200000 SEK


Fungal infections are increasing and have serious consequences affecting the survival in the growing population of immuno-compromised patients, including those receiving chemotherapy and organ transplants, or infected with HIV. Candida albicans is the most common human fungal pathogen. C. albicans is a benign member of the microflora of healthy individuals, however, upon changes in the immune status or microflora, it can aggressively infect a variety of host tissues. Candida cells utilize the SPS-sensing pathway to sense and respond to the amino acids present within infected hosts. Activation of the SPS pathway induces the expression of specific virulence traits that affect the ability of cells to obtain nutrients required for growth. The key events that transmit signals from the plasma membrane to the promoters of responsive genes have been defined. The proposed experiments are designed to clarify the roles of the individual components and to fill remaining gaps in our understanding. Drosophila melanogaster will be used as a living “test tube” to assess the virulence of wild-type and Candida strains lacking defined genes encoding SPS pathway components. This insect model enables host-pathogen interactions in the whole organism and in cell-based assays (phagocytic plasmatocytes) to be investigated. Consequently, this technology has the added and versatile potential to assess the efficacy of antifungal substances within the context of complex host-pathogen interactions.

Last updated on 2017-31-03 at 12:58