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Keywords:

  • proteomics;
  • biofilm formation;
  • diagnostic markers;
  • extracellular matrix;
  • GPI proteins;
  • secretome

Abstract

The opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans occupies various niches of the human body such as the skin and the mucosal surfaces of the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts. It can also enter the blood stream and cause deadly, systemic infections, especially in immunocompromised patients, but also in immunocompetent individuals through inserted medical devices. To survive in these diverse host environments, C. albicans has developed specialized virulence attributes and rapidly adapts itself to local growth conditions and defense mechanisms. Candida albicans secretes a considerable number of proteins that are involved in biofilm formation, tissue invasion, immune evasion, and wall maintenance, as well as acquisition of nutrients including metal ions. The secretome of C. albicans is predicted to comprise 225 proteins. On a proteomic level, however, analysis of the secretome of C. albicans is incomplete as many secreted proteins are only produced under certain conditions. Interestingly, glycosylphosphatidylinositol proteins and known cytoplasmic proteins are also consistently detected in the growth medium. Importantly, a core set of seven wall polysaccharide-processing enzymes seems to be consistently present, including the diagnostic marker Mp65. Overall, we discuss the importance of the secretome for virulence and suggest potential targets for better and faster diagnostic methods.