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Trends Microbiol. 2001 Jul;9(7):327-35.

Virulence factors of Candida albicans.

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  • 1Dept of Microbiology & Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, 20007, Washington, DC, USA. calderor@georgetown.edu


Candidiasis is a common infection of the skin, oral cavity and esophagus, gastrointestinal tract, vagina and vascular system of humans. Although most infections occur in patients who are immunocompromised or debilitated in some other way, the organism most often responsible for disease, Candida albicans, expresses several virulence factors that contribute to pathogenesis. These factors include host recognition biomolecules (adhesins), morphogenesis (the reversible transition between unicellular yeast cells and filamentous, growth forms), secreted aspartyl proteases and phospholipases. Additionally, 'phenotypic switching' is accompanied by changes in antigen expression, colony morphology and tissue affinities in C. albicans and several other Candida spp. Switching might provide cells with a flexibility that results in the adaptation of the organism to the hostile conditions imposed not only by the host but also by the physician treating the infection.

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