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FEMS Yeast Res. 2004 Jan;4(4-5):369-76.

Comparison of the epidemiology, drug resistance mechanisms, and virulence of Candida dubliniensis and Candida albicans.

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Microbiology Research Unit, Department of Oral Medicine, Oral Surgery and Oral Pathology, Dublin Dental School and Hospital, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.


Candida dubliniensis is a pathogenic yeast species that was first identified as a distinct taxon in 1995. Epidemiological studies have shown that C. dubliniensis is prevalent throughout the world and that it is primarily associated with oral carriage and oropharyngeal infections in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) patients. However, unlike Candida albicans, C. dubliniensis is rarely found in the oral microflora of normal healthy individuals and is responsible for as few as 2% of cases of candidemia (compared to approximately 65% for C. albicans). The vast majority of C. dubliniensis isolates identified to date are susceptible to all of the commonly used antifungal agents, however, reduced susceptibility to azole drugs has been observed in clinical isolates and can be readily induced in vitro. The primary mechanism of fluconazole resistance in C. dubliniensis has been shown to be overexpression of the major facilitator efflux pump Mdr1p. It has also been observed that a large number of C. dubliniensis strains express a non-functional truncated form of Cdr1p, and it has been demonstrated that this protein does not play a significant role in fluconazole resistance in the majority of strains examined to date. Data from a limited number of infection models reflect findings from epidemiological studies and suggest that C. dubliniensis is less pathogenic than C. albicans. The reasons for the reduced virulence of C. dubliniensis are not clear as it has been shown that the two species express a similar range of virulence factors. However, although C. dubliniensis produces hyphae, it appears that the conditions and dynamics of induction may differ from those in C. albicans. In addition, C. dubliniensis is less tolerant of environmental stresses such as elevated temperature and NaCl and H(2)O(2) concentration, suggesting that C. albicans may have a competitive advantage when colonising and causing infection in the human body. It is our hypothesis that a genomic comparison between these two closely-related species will help to identify virulence factors responsible for the far greater virulence of C. albicans and possibly identify factors that are specifically implicated in either superficial or systemic candidal infections.

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