To better understand the molecular events underlying vulvovaginal candidiasis, we established an in vitro system. Immortalized vaginal epithelial cells were infected with live, yeast form C. albicans and C. albicans cultured in the same medium without vaginal epithelial cells were used as control. In both cases a yeast to hyphae transition was robustly induced. Whole transcriptome sequencing was used to identify specific gene expression changes in C. albicans. Numerous genes leading to a yeast to hyphae transition and hyphae specific genes were upregulated in the control hyphae and the hyphae in response to vaginal epithelial cells. Strikingly, the GlcNAc pathway was exclusively triggered by vaginal epithelial cells. Functional analysis in our in vitro system revealed that the GlcNAc biosynthesis is involved in the adherence to, and the ability to kill, vaginal epithelial cells in vitro, thus indicating the key role for this pathway in the virulence of C. albicans upon vulvovaginal candidiasis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)