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Genomics Proteomics Bioinformatics. 2008 Mar;6(1):42-50. doi: 10.1016/S1672-0229(08)60019-4.

Increased filamentous growth of Candida albicans in simulated microgravity.

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Division of Health Sciences and Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA.


Knowledge of simulated microgravity (SMG)-induced changes in the pathogenicity of microorganisms is important for success of long-term spaceflight. In a previous study using the high aspect ratio vessel bioreactor, we showed that the yeast species Saccharomyces cerevisiae underwent a significant phenotypic response when grown in modeled microgravity, which was reflected in the analysis of gene expression profiles. In this study, we establish that Candida albicans responds to SMG in a similar fashion, demonstrating that there is a conserved response among yeast to this environmental stress. We also report that the growth of C. albicans in SMG results in a morphogenic switch that is consistent with enhanced pathogenicity. Specifically, we observed an increase in filamentous forms of the organism and accompanying changes in the expression of two genes associated with the yeast-hyphal transition. The morphological response may have significant implications for astronauts' safety, as the fungal pathogen may become more virulent during spaceflight.

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