Usually this species causes no harm to humans unless it can breach the body's immune defences, where can lead to serious illness or death. It is known as an opportunistic pathogen that can colonise and infect individuals with a compromised immune system.
New research, presented today at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn Conference, gives us a greater understanding of how mucosal surfaces in the body respond to C. albicans to prevent damage being done during infection.
Researchers from King's College London focused on oral epithelial cells, a mucosal layer of cells that line the mouth, providing a barrier against microbes. The group challenged oral epithelial cells grown in vitro with C. albicans, looking at gene expression six and 24 hours after infection.
The results showed that a molecular signalling pathway know as the 'PI3 Kinase pathway' is activated as soon as five minutes after the epithelial cells encounter C. albicans, before the fungus has time to become invasive. This pathway seems to be involved in priming epithelial cells to protect against future damage. Inhibiting the PI3 Kinase pathway increased the amount of damage caused by C. albicans and reduced the normal tissue healing response.
This finding makes the PI3 Kinase pathway an attractive target for new therapeutics against C. albicans. Dr David Moyes, who presented the work at the conference, hopes that by boosting the activity of the pathway it may be possible to reduce the fungus's ability to cause tissue damage.
He explains, "We are developing a complete picture of how C. albicans interacts with the epithelial cells that make up our mucosal surfaces and learning how they are able to discriminate between harmless and harmful microbes.
"Many of the symptoms of C. albicans infection, are caused by the body's incorrect or overactive response to cell damage. Developing therapies that act on the patient, not the microbe, provides an entirely novel way of treating an infection and the likelihood of resistance is much reduced."
Candida infections are the third most commonly acquired hospital blood-borne infection, resulting in 50,000 deaths annually. Over 75 per cent of fertile age women will suffer from at least one Candida infection and there are around 2 million cases of oral candidiasis each year among HIV/AIDS patients.
Benjamin Thompson | EurekAlert!
Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine