Histone deacetylase inhibitors may reduce pathogenicity and virulence in Candida albicans


  • Editor: Richard Calderone

Correspondence: Claudio Passariello, Dipartimento di Scienze di Sanità Pubblica, Sezione di Microbiologia Farmaceutica, Università‘La Sapienza’, P.le Aldo Moro 5, 00185, Rome, Italy. Tel.: +39 6 49914885; fax: +39 6 4451324; e-mail: claudio.passariello@uniroma1.it


Candida albicans is able to establish mucosal and invasive diseases by means of different virulence factors that are frequently regulated by epigenetic mechanisms, including the acetylation-deacetylation of histones and of other regulatory proteins. The focus of our work was on understanding the possible effects of several histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) on the expression of phenotypes that are associated with virulence and pathogenicity in C. albicans, such as adhesion to epithelial cells and the yeast to hypha transition. Some of the HDACi used for experiments caused a 90% reduction in the adherence of C. albicans to human cultured pneumocytes and significantly inhibited serum-induced germination. Inhibition of germination was correlated with a significant reduction in transcription of EFG1. Inhibition appeared less evident when an HDA1-deficient strain was tested. These results suggest that selective and specific HDACi could prove to be a valid approach for selected at-risk patients in the combined treatment of infections caused by C. albicans.