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Med Mal Infect. 2013 Apr;43(4):146-51. doi: 10.1016/j.medmal.2013.02.005. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

Candida albicans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa interactions: more than an opportunistic criminal association?

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Groupe de recherche translationnelle, relation Hôte-Pathogène Pseudomonas aeruginosa, faculté de médecine de Lille UDSL, université Lille Nord de France, 59045 Lille cedex, France.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans are frequently coexisting opportunistic pathogens, responsible for colonization and infection in predisposed patients. They share a virulence specificity relying on auto-inducing, cell density-dependent molecules named quorum-sensing (QS). C. albicans virulence depends on its QS that influences morphological switch from yeast to filamentous form. Similarly, the production of P. aeruginosa virulence factors depends partly on QS molecules. Interactions have been investigated and demonstrated in vitro. P. aeruginosa may kill C. albicans either by producing toxins, such as pyocyanin, or by direct contact on its biofilm-dependent filamentous form. Cross-kingdom communication is a more subtle interaction: C. albicans can adapt its morphology in the presence of P. aeruginosa QS molecules, and inhibit P. aeruginosa QS-dependent virulence factor secretion, through farnesol, one of its QS molecule. But the in vivo relevance of these interactions is still controversial, as models of airway colonization/infection by C. albicans followed by subsequent P. aeruginosa pneumonia give contradictory results, suggesting the probable involvement of the immune system as a third party player. Finally, the authors of clinical studies performed in ventilated patients, indicate that C. albicans colonization could be a risk factor for P. aeruginosa pneumonia. The clinical outcome of C. albicans and P. aeruginosa interaction is uncertain, the virulence modulation demonstrated in these interactions opens new possibilities for future anti-infectious therapeutics.

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