Role of yeast cell growth temperature on Candida albicans virulence in mice.
Previous studies have suggested that yeast cell growth temperature may influence the relative virulence of the opportunistic dimorphic fungus Candida albicans. To test this possibility, mice were challenged with C. albicans yeast cells which were grown at either room temperature or 37 degrees C, and their survival was monitored daily. Mice which received room temperature-grown cells died faster. The interaction of glycogen-elicited polymorphonucleated neutrophils (PMNs) with C. albicans yeast cells grown at the two temperatures was examined, because PMNs have been shown to have a critical role in preventing development of candidiasis in normal individuals. In the absence of serum (i.e., nonopsonic conditions), more PMNs conjugated and engulfed C. albicans cells grown at room temperature than those grown at 37 degrees C. However, PMNs were less able to kill cells grown at room temperature than cells grown at 37 degrees C. Cells grown at room temperature also produced abundant germ tubes after engulfment and were thus more likely to escape killing by phagocytes. These results suggest that cells grown at room temperature are more virulent because they are less likely to be killed by phagocytes and are more likely to disseminate. The possibility that expression of cell surface hydrophobicity is involved in these events is discussed.
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