Horizontal transmission of candida albicans and evidence of a vaccine response in mice colonized with the fungus

Jim E. Cutler, Miriam Corti, Patrick Lambert, Michael Ferris, Hong Xin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Disseminated candidiasis is the third leading nosocomial blood stream infection in the United States and is often fatal. We previously showed that disseminated candidiasis was preventable in normal mice by immunization with either a glycopeptide or a peptide synthetic vaccine, both of which were Candida albicans cell wall derived. A weakness of these studies is that, unlike humans, mice do not have a C. albicans GI flora and they lack Candida serum antibodies. We examined the influence of C. albicans GI tract colonization and serum antibodies on mouse vaccination responses to the peptide, Fba, derived from fructose bisphosphate aldolase which has cytosolic and cell wall distributions in the fungus. We evaluated the effect of live C. albicans in drinking water and antimicrobial agents on establishment of Candida colonization of the mouse GI tract. Body mass, C. albicans in feces, and fungal-specific serum antibodies were monitored longitudinally. Unexpectedly, C. albicans colonization occurred in mice that received only antibiotics in their drinking water, provided that the mice were housed in the same room as intentionally colonized mice. The fungal strain in unintentionally colonized mice appeared identical to the strain used for intentional GI-tract colonization. This is the first report of horizontal transmission and spontaneous C. albicans colonization in mice. Importantly, many Candida-colonized mice developed serum fungal-specific antibodies. Despite the GI-tract colonization and presence of serum antibodies, the animals made antibodies in response to the Fba immunogen. This mouse model has potential for elucidating C. albicans horizontal transmission and for exploring factors that induce host defense against disseminated candidiasis. Furthermore, a combined protracted GI-tract colonization with Candida and the possibility of serum antibody responses to the presence of the fungus makes this an attractive mouse model for testing the efficacy of vaccines designed to prevent human disseminated candidiasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere22030
JournalPloS one
Volume6
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 22 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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