• Comparative genomics of the fungal pathogens Candida dubliniensis and Candida albicans.

      Jackson, Andrew P; Gamble, John A; Yeomans, Tim; Moran, Gary P; Saunders, David; Harris, David; Aslett, Martin; Barrell, Jamie F; Butler, Geraldine; Citiulo, Francesco; et al. (2009-12)
      Candida dubliniensis is the closest known relative of Candida albicans, the most pathogenic yeast species in humans. However, despite both species sharing many phenotypic characteristics, including the ability to form true hyphae, C. dubliniensis is a significantly less virulent and less versatile pathogen. Therefore, to identify C. albicans-specific genes that may be responsible for an increased capacity to cause disease, we have sequenced the C. dubliniensis genome and compared it with the known C. albicans genome sequence. Although the two genome sequences are highly similar and synteny is conserved throughout, 168 species-specific genes are identified, including some encoding known hyphal-specific virulence factors, such as the aspartyl proteinases Sap4 and Sap5 and the proposed invasin Als3. Among the 115 pseudogenes confirmed in C. dubliniensis are orthologs of several filamentous growth regulator (FGR) genes that also have suspected roles in pathogenesis. However, the principal differences in genomic repertoire concern expansion of the TLO gene family of putative transcription factors and the IFA family of putative transmembrane proteins in C. albicans, which represent novel candidate virulence-associated factors. The results suggest that the recent evolutionary histories of C. albicans and C. dubliniensis are quite different. While gene families instrumental in pathogenesis have been elaborated in C. albicans, C. dubliniensis has lost genomic capacity and key pathogenic functions. This could explain why C. albicans is a more potent pathogen in humans than C. dubliniensis.
    • Comparative transcript profiling of Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis identifies SFL2, a C. albicans gene required for virulence in a reconstituted epithelial infection model.

      Spiering, Martin J; Moran, Gary P; Chauvel, Murielle; Maccallum, Donna M; Higgins, Judy; Hokamp, Karsten; Yeomans, Tim; d'Enfert, Christophe; Coleman, David C; Sullivan, Derek J; et al. (2010-02)
      Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis are closely related species displaying differences in virulence and genome content, therefore providing potential opportunities to identify novel C. albicans virulence genes. C. albicans gene arrays were used for comparative analysis of global gene expression in the two species in reconstituted human oral epithelium (RHE). C. albicans (SC5314) showed upregulation of hypha-specific and virulence genes within 30 min postinoculation, coinciding with rapid induction of filamentation and increased RHE damage. C. dubliniensis (CD36) showed no detectable upregulation of hypha-specific genes, grew as yeast, and caused limited RHE damage. Several genes absent or highly divergent in C. dubliniensis were upregulated in C. albicans. One such gene, SFL2 (orf19.3969), encoding a putative heat shock factor, was deleted in C. albicans. DeltaDeltasfl2 cells failed to filament under a range of hypha-inducing conditions and exhibited greatly reduced RHE damage, reversed by reintroduction of SFL2 into the DeltaDeltasfl2 strain. Moreover, SFL2 overexpression in C. albicans triggered hyphal morphogenesis. Although SFL2 deletion had no apparent effect on host survival in the murine model of systemic infection, DeltaDeltasfl2 strain-infected kidney tissues contained only yeast cells. These results suggest a role for SFL2 in morphogenesis and an indirect role in C. albicans pathogenesis in epithelial tissues.
    • Differential filamentation of Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis Is governed by nutrient regulation of UME6 expression.

      O'Connor, Leanne; Caplice, Nicole; Coleman, David C; Sullivan, Derek J; Moran, Gary P; Microbiology Research Unit, Division of Oral Biosciences, Dublin Dental School and Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland. gpmoran@dental.tcd.ie. (2010-09)
      Candida dubliniensis is closely related to Candida albicans; however, it is responsible for fewer infections in humans and is less virulent in animal models of infection. C. dubliniensis forms fewer hyphae in vivo, and this may contribute to its reduced virulence. In this study we show that, unlike C. albicans, C. dubliniensis fails to form hyphae in yeast extract-peptone-dextrose (YPD) medium supplemented with 10% (vol/vol) fetal calf serum (YPDS medium). However, C. dubliniensis filaments in water plus 10% (vol/vol) fetal calf serum (WS), and this filamentation is inhibited by the addition of peptone and glucose. Repression of filamentation in YPDS medium could be partly overcome by preculture in synthetic Lee's medium. Unlike C. albicans, inoculation of C. dubliniensis in YPDS medium did not result in increased UME6 transcription. However, >100-fold induction of UME6 was observed when C. dubliniensis was inoculated in nutrient-poor WS medium. The addition of increasing concentrations of peptone to WS medium had a dose-dependent effect on reducing UME6 expression. Transcript profiling of C. dubliniensis hyphae in WS medium identified a starvation response involving expression of genes in the glyoxylate cycle and fatty acid oxidation. In addition, a core, shared transcriptional response with C. albicans could be identified, including expression of virulence-associated genes including SAP456, SAP7, HWP1, and SOD5. Preculture in nutrient-limiting medium enhanced adherence of C. dubliniensis, epithelial invasion, and survival following coculture with murine macrophages. In conclusion, C. albicans, unlike C. dubliniensis, appears to form hyphae in liquid medium regardless of nutrient availability, which may account for its increased capacity to cause disease in humans.
    • Differential virulence of Candida albicans and C. dubliniensis: A role for Tor1 kinase?

      Sullivan, Derek J; Moran, Gary P; Microbiology Research Unit, Division of Oral Biosciences, Dublin Dental University Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, University of Dublin, Ireland. (2011-01)
      Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis are two very closely related species of pathogenic yeast. C. albicans is the most prevalent species in the human gastrointestinal tract and is responsible for far more opportunistic infections in comparison with C. dubliniensis. This disparity is likely to be due to the reduced ability of C. dubliniensis to undergo the yeast to hypha transition, a change in morphology that plays an important role in C. albicans virulence. We have recently shown that hypha formation by C. dubliniensis is specifically repressed by nutrients at alkaline pH. In this article, we present new data showing that this can be partly reversed by treatment with rapamycin, an inhibitor of the nutrient sensing kinase Tor1 (Target Of Rapamycin). We also provide a speculative model to describe why C. albicans filaments more efficiently in nutrient rich environments, citing recently described data on Mds3, a pH responsive regulator of Tor1 kinase activity.
    • DNA microarray genotyping and virulence and antimicrobial resistance gene profiling of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream isolates from renal patients.

      McNicholas, Sinead; Shore, Anna C; Coleman, David C; Humphreys, Hilary; Hughes, Deirdre Fitzgerald; Department of Clinical Microbiology, RCSI Education and Research Centre, Smurfit Building, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9, Ireland. (2011-12)
      Thirty-six methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream isolates from renal patients were genetically characterized by DNA microarray analysis and spa typing. The isolates were highly clonal, belonging mainly to ST22-MRSA-IV. The immune evasion and enterotoxin gene clusters were found in 29/36 (80%) and 33/36 (92%) isolates, respectively.
    • A field guide to pandemic, epidemic and sporadic clones of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

      Monecke, Stefan; Coombs, Geoffrey; Shore, Anna C; Coleman, David C; Akpaka, Patrick; Borg, Michael; Chow, Henry; Ip, Margaret; Jatzwauk, Lutz; Jonas, Daniel; et al. (2011-04)
      In recent years, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have become a truly global challenge. In addition to the long-known healthcare-associated clones, novel strains have also emerged outside of the hospital settings, in the community as well as in livestock. The emergence and spread of virulent clones expressing Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) is an additional cause for concern. In order to provide an overview of pandemic, epidemic and sporadic strains, more than 3,000 clinical and veterinary isolates of MRSA mainly from Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Malta, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Australia, Trinidad & Tobago as well as some reference strains from the United States have been genotyped by DNA microarray analysis. This technique allowed the assignment of the MRSA isolates to 34 distinct lineages which can be clearly defined based on non-mobile genes. The results were in accordance with data from multilocus sequence typing. More than 100 different strains were distinguished based on affiliation to these lineages, SCCmec type and the presence or absence of PVL. These strains are described here mainly with regard to clinically relevant antimicrobial resistance- and virulence-associated markers, but also in relation to epidemiology and geographic distribution. The findings of the study show a high level of biodiversity among MRSA, especially among strains harbouring SCCmec IV and V elements. The data also indicate a high rate of genetic recombination in MRSA involving SCC elements, bacteriophages or other mobile genetic elements and large-scale chromosomal replacements.
    • Genome-wide gene expression profiling and a forward genetic screen show that differential expression of the sodium ion transporter Ena21 contributes to the differential tolerance of Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis to osmotic stress.

      Enjalbert, Brice; Moran, Gary P; Vaughan, Claire; Yeomans, Tim; Maccallum, Donna M; Quinn, Janet; Coleman, David C; Brown, Alistair J P; Sullivan, Derek J; Aberdeen Fungal Group, School of Medical Sciences, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK. (2009-04)
      Candida albicans is more pathogenic than Candida dubliniensis. However, this disparity in virulence is surprising given the high level of sequence conservation and the wide range of phenotypic traits shared by these two species. Increased sensitivity to environmental stresses has been suggested to be a possible contributory factor to the lower virulence of C. dubliniensis. In this study, we investigated, in the first comparison of C. albicans and C. dubliniensis by transcriptional profiling, global gene expression in each species when grown under conditions in which the two species exhibit differential stress tolerance. The profiles revealed similar core responses to stresses in both species, but differences in the amplitude of the general transcriptional responses to thermal, salt and oxidative stress. Differences in the regulation of specific stress genes were observed between the two species. In particular, ENA21, encoding a sodium ion transporter, was strongly induced in C. albicans but not in C. dubliniensis. In addition, ENA21 was identified in a forward genetic screen for C. albicans genomic sequences that increase salt tolerance in C. dubliniensis. Introduction of a single copy of CaENA21 was subsequently shown to be sufficient to confer salt tolerance upon C. dubliniensis.