Fungal Biofilms

Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
PLoS Pathogens (Impact Factor: 7.56). 04/2012; 8(4):e1002585. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002585
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    • "The pathogenic ability of C. albicans is closely related to the change between these morphological forms [7], [8]. Additionally, the formation of hyphae [9] and biofilms [10], the integrity of the cell wall [11], the rapid adaptive capacity to external environmental condition [12] all contribute to virulence and are all related to morphogenesis. "
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    ABSTRACT: Candida albicans is a ubiquitous fungus, which can cause very serious and sometimes life-threatening infections in susceptible patients. We used Caenorhabditis elegans as a model host to screen a library of C. albicans mutants for decreased virulence and identified SPT20 as important for virulence. The transcription co-activator SPT20 was identified originally as a suppressor of Ty and solo δ insertion mutations, which can cause transcription defects in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is resistant to the toxicity caused by overexpression of GAL4-VP16. We constructed a C. albicans spt20Δ/Δ mutant and found the spt20Δ/Δ strain was significantly less virulent than the wild-type strain SC5314 in C. elegans (p < 0.0001), Galleria mellonella (p < 0.01) and mice (p < 0.001). Morphologically, spt20Δ/Δ mutant cells demonstrated a "snow-flake" shape and clustered together; prolonged culture times resulted in increased size of the cluster. The clustered morphology was associated with defects in nuclei distribution, as the nuclei were not observed in many cellular compartments. In addition, the C. albicans spt20Δ/Δ mutant resulted in defects in hyphae and biofilm formation (compared to the wild-type strain, p < 0.05), and sensitivity to cell wall and osmotic stressors, and to antifungal agents. Thus our study demonstrated a role of C. albicans SPT20 in overall morphology and distribution of nuclear material, which may cause the defects in filamentation and biofilm formation directly when this gene is deleted.
    PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e94468. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0094468 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "High levels of S. aureus and P. aeruginosa, previously reported at three South Florida beaches (Esiobu et al., 2004), may be explained by the ability of these organisms to replicate in sand over a range of conditions, and the sand may also offer an environment favorable to pathogen growth through biofilm development (Hartz et al., 2008). Biofilms provide protection against extreme changes in moisture, salinity , and other environmental variables as well as provide some protection against predators, as reviewed in Fanning and Mitchell (2012). The consensus among meeting participants was to not expand the bacteriological parameters currently in use, as they match the ones used on water quality assessment (E. coli and enterococci). "
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    ABSTRACT: Beaches worldwide provide recreational opportunities to hundreds of millions of people and serve as important components of coastal economies. Beach water is often monitored for microbiological quality to detect the presence of indicators of human sewage contamination so as to prevent public health outbreaks associated with water contact. However, growing evidence suggests that beach sand can harbor microbes harmful to human health, often in concentrations greater than the beach water. Currently, there are no standards for monitoring, sampling, analyzing, or managing beach sand quality. In addition to indicator microbes, growing evidence has identified pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi in a variety of beach sands worldwide. The public health threat associated with these populations through direct and indirect contact is unknown because so little research has been conducted relating to health outcomes associated with sand quality. In this manuscript, we present the consensus findings of a workshop of experts convened in Lisbon, Portugal to discuss the current state of knowledge on beach sand microbiological quality and to develop suggestions for standardizing the evaluation of sand at coastal beaches. The expert group at the "Microareias 2012" workshop recommends that 1) beach sand should be screened for a variety of pathogens harmful to human health, and sand monitoring should then be initiated alongside regular water monitoring; 2) sampling and analysis protocols should be standardized to allow proper comparisons among beach locations; and 3) further studies are needed to estimate human health risk with exposure to contaminated beach sand. Much of the manuscript is focused on research specific to Portugal, but similar results have been found elsewhere, and the findings have worldwide implications.
    Science of The Total Environment 12/2013; 472C:1062-1069. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.11.091 · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    • "C. albicans forms biofilms on indwelling medical devices, and these structures are resistant to antifungal treatments [1], [2], [3]. This makes biofilm-related infections very difficult to treat, resulting in high mortality rates [2], [3]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding multicellular fungal structures is important for designing better strategies against human fungal pathogens. For example, the ability to form multicellular biofilms is a key virulence property of the yeast Candida albicans. C. albicans biofilms form on indwelling medical devices and are drug resistant, causing serious infections in hospital settings. Multicellular fungal communities are heterogeneous, consisting of cells experiencing different environments. Heterogeneity is likely important for the phenotypic characteristics of communities, yet it is poorly understood. Here we used colonies of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model fungal multicellular structure. We fractionated the outside colony layers from the cells in the center by FACS, using a Cit1-GFP marker expressed exclusively on the outside. Transcriptomics analysis of the two subpopulations revealed that the outside colony layers are actively growing by fermentative metabolism, while the cells residing on the inside are in a resting state and experience changes to mitochondrial activity. Our data shows several parallels with C. albicans biofilms providing insight into the contributions of heterogeneity to biofilm phenotypes. Hallmarks of C. albicans biofilms - the expression of ribosome and translation functions and activation of glycolysis and ergosterol biosynthesis occur on the outside of colonies, while expression of genes associates with sulfur assimilation is observed in the colony center. Cell wall restructuring occurs in biofilms, and cell wall functions are enriched in both fractions: the outside cells display enrichment of cell wall biosynthesis enzymes and cell wall proteins, while the inside cells express cell wall degrading enzymes. Our study also suggests that noncoding transcription and posttranscriptional mRNA regulation play important roles during growth of yeast in colonies, setting the scene for investigating these pathways in the development of multicellular fungal communities.
    PLoS ONE 09/2012; 7(9):e46243. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0046243 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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