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Cell Microbiol. 2010 Mar;12(3):273-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2009.01412.x. Epub 2009 Nov 16.

Interactions of Candida albicans with epithelial cells.

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Divison of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA 90502, USA.


The fungus, Candida albicans, interacts with epithelial cells in the human host both as a normal commensal and as an invasive pathogen. It has evolved multiple complementary mechanisms to adhere to epithelial cells. Adherent C. albicans cells can invade epithelial surfaces both by penetrating into individual epithelial cells, and by degrading interepithelial cell junctions and passing between epithelial cells. Invasion into epithelial cells is mediated by both induced endocytosis and active penetration, whereas degradation of epithelial cell junction proteins, such as E-cadherin, occurs mainly via proteolysis by secreted aspartyl proteinases. C. albicans invasion of epithelial cells results in significant epithelial cell damage, which is probably induced by lytic enzymes, such as proteases and phospholipase secreted by the organism. Future challenges include identifying the epithelial cell targets of adhesins and invasins, and determining the mechanisms by which C. albicans actively penetrates epithelial cells and induces epithelial cell damage.

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