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Infect Immun. 1991 Apr;59(4):1312-8.

Cell walls of normal and lysozyme-damaged blastoconidia of Candida albicans: localization of surface factor 4 antigen and vicinal-glycol staining.

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Département de Microbiologie et Immunologie, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada.


The fungicidal effect of lysozyme on Candida albicans involves ultrastructural modifications previously described (G. Marquis, S. Montplaisir, S. Garzon, H. Strykowski, and P. Auger, Lab. Invest. 46:627-636, 1982). To further define the action of lysozyme on the yeast cell wall, we used the following: (i) the periodic acid-thiocarbohydrazide-silver proteinate (PA-TCH-SP) method to highlight vicinal-glycol-reactive sites of complex carbohydrates; (ii) a monospecific antiserum and a protein A-gold complex to study the expression of surface factor 4, a major Candida antigen; and (iii) the periodic acid-silver methenamine method to stain cell wall glycoproteins. All Candida cells were found to express surface factor 4 antigen. In normal blastoconidia, surface factor 4 was located in a glycoprotein-rich cell wall layer, underneath radially oriented bundles of filaments which form the outermost wall layer. In lysozyme-treated blastoconidia, this glycoprotein-rich layer was lost and the regular brushlike organization of the outer fibrillogranular layer was disrupted. PA-TCH-SP staining and localization of surface factor 4 antigen demonstrated an altered arrangement of bundles of filaments in the outer wall layers of blastoconidia which were morphologically intact but had abnormal cell wall appearance. Next, there was a reduction in thickness of the outer layer and the expression of surface factor 4 antigen was limited to the cytoplasmic membrane area. Later on, the cell wall was almost uniformly highlighted by PA-TCH-SP staining. These data evinced a highly plastic architecture of the cell wall in C. albicans.

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