Candida albicans commensalism in the oral mucosa is favoured by limited virulence and metabolic adaptation - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles PLoS Pathogens Year : 2022

Candida albicans commensalism in the oral mucosa is favoured by limited virulence and metabolic adaptation

(1) , (1) , (1) , (1) , (2) , (1) , (3) , (4) , (4) , (2) , (3) , (1)
van Du T. Tran


As part of the human microbiota, the fungus Candida albicans colonizes the oral cavity and other mucosal surfaces of the human body. Commensalism is tightly controlled by complex interactions of the fungus and the host to preclude fungal elimination but also fungal overgrowth and invasion, which can result in disease. As such, defects in antifungal T cell immunity render individuals susceptible to oral thrush due to interrupted immunosurveillance of the oral mucosa. The factors that promote commensalism and ensure persistence of C. albicans in a fully immunocompetent host remain less clear. Using an experimental model of C. albicans oral colonization in mice we explored fungal determinants of commensalism in the oral cavity. Transcript profiling of the oral isolate 101 in the murine tongue tissue revealed a characteristic metabolic profile tailored to the nutrient poor conditions in the stratum corneum of the epithelium where the fungus resides. Metabolic adaptation of isolate 101 was also reflected in enhanced nutrient acquisition when grown on oral mucosa substrates. Persistent colonization of the oral mucosa by C. albicans also correlated inversely with the capacity of the fungus to induce epithelial cell damage and to elicit an inflammatory response. Here we show that these immune evasive properties of isolate 101 are explained by a strong attenuation of a number of virulence genes, including those linked to filamentation. De-repression of the hyphal program by deletion or conditional repression of NRG1 abolished the commensal behaviour of isolate 101, thereby establishing a central role of this factor in the commensal lifestyle of C. albicans in the oral niche of the host. Author summary : The oral microbiota represents an important part of the human microbiota and includes several hundreds to several thousands of bacterial and fungal species. One of the most prominent fungus colonizing the oral cavity is the yeast Candida albicans. While the presence of C. albicans usually remains unnoticed, the fungus can under certain circumstances cause lesions on the lining of the mouth referred to as oral thrush or contribute to other common oral diseases such as caries. Maintaining C. albicans commensalism in the oral mucosa is therefore of utmost importance for oral health and overall wellbeing. While overt fungal growth and disease is limited by immunosurveillance mechanisms during homeostasis, C. albicans strives to survive and evades elimination from the host. Here, we show that while commensalism in the oral cavity is characterized by a restricted fungal virulence and hyphal program, enforcing filamentation in a commensal isolate is sufficient for driving pathogenicity and fungus-induced inflammation in the oral mucosa thwarting persistent colonization. Our results further support a critical role for specialized nutrient acquisition allowing the fungus to thrive in the nutrient poor environment of the squamous epithelium. Together, this work revealed key determinants of C. albicans commensalism in the oral niche.
Fichier principal
Vignette du fichier
2022_Lemberg_PLOSPathogens.pdf (2.38 Mo) Télécharger le fichier
Origin : Publisher files allowed on an open archive

Dates and versions

hal-03760446 , version 1 (25-08-2022)


Attribution - CC BY 4.0



Christina Lemberg, Kontxi Martinez de San Vicente, Ricardo Fróis-Martins, Simon Altmeier, van Du T. Tran, et al.. Candida albicans commensalism in the oral mucosa is favoured by limited virulence and metabolic adaptation. PLoS Pathogens, 2022, 18 (4), pp.e1010012. ⟨10.1371/journal.ppat.1010012⟩. ⟨hal-03760446⟩
22 View
10 Download



Gmail Facebook Twitter LinkedIn More