• Candida albicans;
  • flow-cytometry;
  • macrophages;
  • pathogenesis;
  • survival;
  • trehalose


Accumulation of trehalose by yeast is an important protective mechanism against different stress conditions. This study examined the effect of trehalose on several growth features, as well as its association with the intracellular survival of yeasts exposed to macrophages. A tps1/tps1 mutant and its parental counterpart, CAI4, exhibited similar growth rates and preserved their dimorphic conversion and agglutination ability. However, electron-microscopy of cell-wall architecture showed a partial loss of material from the outer cell-wall layer in the tps1/tps1 mutant. Flow-cytometry revealed that the mutant had lower auto-fluorescence levels and a higher fluorescein isothiocynate staining efficiency. When co-cultured with macrophages, a slight reduction in binding to macrophages and slower ingestion kinetics were revealed for the tps1/tps1 mutant, but these did not interfere significantly with the amount of yeast ingested by macrophages after co-incubation for 2 h. Under the same conditions, CAI4 cells were more resistant to macrophage killing than was the tps1 null mutant, provided that the macrophages had been stimulated previously with interferon-γ. Measurement of trehalose content and the anti-oxidant activities of yeast cells recovered after phagocytosis revealed that the trehalose content and the glutathione reductase activity were increased only in CAI4 cells, whereas levels of catalase activity were increased similarly in both strains. These results suggest that the presence of trehalose in Candida albicans is a contributory factor that protects the cell from injury caused by macrophages.