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FEMS Yeast Res. 2009 Oct;9(7):1102-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2009.00575.x. Epub 2009 Sep 7.

Identification of salivary components that induce transition of hyphae to yeast in Candida albicans.

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Department of Oral Biochemistry, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), Vrije Universiteit and Universiteit van Amsterdam, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Candida albicans, the major human fungal pathogen, undergoes a reversible morphological transition from single yeast cells to pseudohyphae and hyphae filaments. The hyphae form is considered the most invasive form of the fungus. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of saliva on hyphae growth of C. albicans. Candida albicans hyphae were inoculated in Roswell Park Memorial Institute medium with whole saliva, parotid saliva or buffer mimicking the saliva ion composition, and cultured for 18 h at 37 degrees C under aerobic conditions with 5% CO(2). Whole saliva and parotid saliva induced transition to yeast growth, whereas the culture with buffer remained in the hyphae form. Parotid saliva was fractionated on a reverse-phase C8 column and each fraction was tested for inducing transition to yeast growth. By immunoblotting, the salivary component in the active fraction was identified as statherin, a phosphoprotein of 43 amino acids that has been implicated in remineralization of the teeth. Synthetically made statherin induced transition of hyphae to yeast. By deletion of five amino acids at the negatively charged N-terminal site (DpSpSEE), yeast-inducing activity and binding to C. albicans were increased. In conclusion, statherin induces transition to yeast of C. albicans hyphae and may thus contribute to the oral defense against candidiasis.

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