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J Infect Dis. 2003 Jul 1;188(1):165-72. Epub 2003 Jun 23.

Candida albicans phospholipomannan is sensed through toll-like receptors.

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Laboratoire de Mycologie Fondamentale et Appliquée, Inserm EMI0360, Université de Lille II, Lille, France.


Candida albicans is a common, harmless yeast in the human digestive tract that also causes severe systemic fungal infection in hospitalized patients. Its cell-wall surface displays a unique glycolipid called phospholipomannan (PLM). The ability of PLM to stimulate tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha production by J774 mouse cells correlates with the activation of nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB. We examined the involvement of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) in PLM-dependent stimulation. Compared with wild-type cells, which produced large amounts of TNF-alpha after incubation with PLM, the deletion of the TLR4 and TLR6 genes led to a limited alteration of the PLM-induced response. Deletion of the TLR2 gene completely abolished the cell response. Surface expression of PLM is a phylogenic trait of C. albicans, and the recognition of PLM by TLRs, together with the unique pathogenic potential of C. albicans, suggests that this molecule may be a member of the pathogen-associated molecular pattern family.

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