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J Med Microbiol. 2008 May;57(Pt 5):563-9. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.47705-0.

Signal-mediated interactions between Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans.

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Department of Microbiology, University College, Cork, Ireland.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes infections in a wide variety of hosts and is the leading cause of mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. Although most clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa share common virulence determinants, it is known that strains evolve and change phenotypically during CF lung infections. These changes can include alterations in the levels of N-acyl homoserine lactones (HSLs), which are secreted signal molecules. In the CF lung, fungi, especially Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus, may coexist with P. aeruginosa but the implications for disease are not known. Recent studies have established that signalling can occur between P. aeruginosa and C. albicans, with the bacterial molecule 3-oxo-C12HSL affecting Candida morphology, and the fungal metabolite farnesol reducing levels of the Pseudomonas quinolone signal and pyocyanin in Pseudomonas. Whether these interactions are common and typical in clinical strains of P. aeruginosa was addressed using CF isolates that produced varied levels of HSLs. It was found that, whereas some clinical P. aeruginosa strains affected C. albicans morphology, others did not. This correlated closely with the amounts of 3-oxo-C12HSL produced by the isolates. Furthermore, it was established that signalling is bidirectional and that the C. albicans molecule farnesol inhibits swarming motility in P. aeruginosa CF strains. This work demonstrates that clinical isolates of these opportunistic pathogens can interact in strain-specific ways via secreted signals and illustrates the importance of studying these interactions to fully understand the microbial contribution to disease in polymicrobial infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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