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Adv Appl Microbiol. 2003;53:271-90.

Tissue infection and site-specific gene expression in Candida albicans.

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Robert Koch-Institut Nordufer 20, D-13353 Berlin, Germany.


C. albicans is able to survive and proliferate in and on a range of different tissues, either as a commensal or as a pathogen. During the different stages and types of infection, the fungal cells need a broad flexibility since each anatomic site has its own set of environmental pressures (Calderone and Fonzi, 2001). The fact that C. albicans possesses gene families encoding known virulence factors may reflect an adaptation to the wide range of environmental pressures that a C. albicans cell is likely to encounter during growth in vivo. In fact, specific members of each family are likely to be differentially expressed in different tissues and at different stages of infection, suggesting that these features have evolved as a consequence of these pressures. It remains to be investigated whether the members of the families have different functions or if they are just proteins with the same function but adapted to the specific demands of each anatomical site. Furthermore, with a few exceptions, the regulatory mechanisms responsible for the differential expression of individual members within gene families are not clear. However, the use of microarrays and other high-throughput technologies will certainly accelerate our knowledge of tissue-specific gene expression in microorganisms and will therefore help to understand why C. albicans is such a successful fungal commensal and pathogen.

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