Papers in the Biological Sciences


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Hargarten JC, Moore TC, Petro TM, Nickerson KW, Atkin AL. 2015. Candida albicans quorum sensing molecules stimulate mouse macrophage migration. Infect Immun 83:3857–3864. doi:10.1128/IAI.00886-15.


Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


The polymorphic commensal fungus Candida albicans causes life-threatening disease via bloodstream and intra-abdominal infections in immunocompromised and transplant patients. Although host immune evasion is a common strategy used by successful human fungal pathogens, C. albicans provokes recognition by host immune cells less capable of destroying it. To accomplish this, C. albicans white cells secrete a low-molecular-weight chemoattractive stimulant(s) of macrophages, a phagocyte that they are able to survive within and eventually escape from. C. albicans opaque cells do not secrete this chemoattractive stimulant( s). We report here a physiological mechanism that contributes to the differences in the interaction of C. albicans white and opaque cells with macrophages. E,E-Farnesol, which is secreted by white cells only, is a potent stimulator of macrophage chemokinesis, whose activity is enhanced by yeast cell wall components and aromatic alcohols. E,E-farnesol results in up to an 8.5-fold increase in macrophage migration in vitro and promotes a 3-fold increase in the peritoneal infiltration of macrophages in vivo. Therefore, modulation of farnesol secretion to stimulate host immune recognition by macrophages may help explain why this commensal is such a successful pathogen.