Complications in cell-surface labelling by biotinylation of Candida albicans due to avidin conjugate binding to cell-wall proteins.
Initial contact between the opportunistic fungal pathogen Candida albicans and host tissue occurs at the cell surface. Biotin derivatives have been used to label the cell-surface proteins of yeasts, with labelled proteins subsequently detected by avidin-reporter conjugates. Previous work has indicated that avidin can bind to C. albicans proteins in the absence of biotin, suggesting a possible host-cell-recognition mechanism by fungal cell-surface proteins. To investigate this mechanism, Western blots of proteins extracted from biotinylated and mock-treated cells were probed with avidin or modified-avidin reagents. Each avidin reagent bound to cell-wall proteins extracted from non-biotinylated cells. Binding did not appear to be due to the lectin-like activity of the cell-wall proteins of C. albicans or to the presence of biotin in the sample itself. Binding was inhibited by added biotin, by the chaotrope KSCN and by NaCl in a concentration-dependent manner, although inhibition varied among the avidin conjugates tested. Thus, the non-specific binding of avidin to the cell-wall proteins of C. albicans appears to involve hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions, depending on the particular avidin species. These observations demonstrate potential pitfalls in the use of avidin-biotin complexes to identify cell-surface molecules and could provide insights into protein-protein interactions at the C. albicans cell wall.
Masuoka, J; Guthrie, LN; Hazen, KC
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