2022 - Candidalysins Are a New Family of Cytolytic Fungal Peptide Toxins
Orbit 16 publication in mBio (2022)
Richardson J. P., Brown R., Kichik N., Lee S., Priest E., Mogavero S., Maufrais C., Wickramasinghe D. N., Tsavou A., Kotowicz N. K., Hepworth O. W., Gallego-Cortés A., Ponde N. O., Ho J., Moyes D. L., Wilson D., D’Enfert C., Hube B., Naglik J. R.
mBio (2022) doi: 10.1128/mbio.03510-21
Candidalysin is the first cytolytic peptide toxin identified in any human fungal pathogen. Candidalysin is secreted by Candida albicans and is critical for driving infection and host immune responses in several model systems. However, Candida infections are also caused by non-C. albicans species. Here, we identify and characterize orthologs of C. albicans candidalysin in C. dubliniensis and C. tropicalis. The candidalysins have different amino acid sequences, are amphipathic, and adopt a predominantly α-helical secondary structure in solution. Comparative functional analysis demonstrates that each candidalysin causes epithelial damage and calcium influx and activates intracellular signaling pathways and cytokine secretion. Importantly, C. dubliniensis and C. tropicalis candidalysins have higher damaging and activation potential than C. albicans candidalysin and exhibit more rapid membrane binding and disruption, although both fungal species cause less damage to epithelial cells than C. albicans. This study identifies the first family of peptide cytolysins in human-pathogenic fungi.