Proteomic and metabolic characterization of a Candida albicans mutant resistant to the antimicrobial peptide MUC7 12-mer


  • Editor: Ewa Sadowy

Correspondence: Maciej Lis, Department of Oral Biology, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, 109 Foster Hall, 3435 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14214 30932, USA. Tel.: +1 716 829 6301; fax: +1 716 829 3942; e-mail:


MUC7 12-mer is a cationic peptide derived from the N-terminal portion of human mucin MUC7, exhibiting potent antibacterial and antifungal properties. To advance our knowledge regarding the mechanisms of action of MUC7 peptide against an opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans, we sought to develop and characterize mutant(s) resistant to this peptide. One of the selected mutants, designated #37, was much less susceptible to the MUC7 12-mer in a killing assay than the parental strain (ED50>40 vs. c. 6 μM, respectively). Difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE) analysis of the mutant revealed elevation of several glycolytic enzymes. The mutant also exhibited lowered ATP contents along with a relatively lower rate of oxygen consumption, as well as inability to grow on nonfermentable carbon sources. These properties are likely to be associated with changes in metabolic regulation, rather than lack of functional mitochondria, as determined by rhodamine 123 staining. Analysis of interaction between fluorescently labeled peptide and cells of both strains revealed that resistance of the mutant #37 is associated with changes in the process of transition between surface-bound state of the peptide to its internalization marking cell death.