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Open Access Research article

Effect of anti-glycosphingolipid monoclonal antibodies in pathogenic fungal growth and differentiation. Characterization of monoclonal antibody MEST-3 directed to Manpα1→3Manpα1→2IPC

Marcos S Toledo1, Loriane Tagliari1, Erika Suzuki12, Claudinei M Silva1, Anita H Straus1 and Helio K Takahashi1*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Glycoconjugate Immunochemistry, Department of Biochemistry, Universidade Federal de São Paulo/Escola Paulista de Medicina, Ed. JL Prado, Rua Botucatu, 862, 04023-900, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

2 Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, Universidade Federal de São Paulo/Escola Paulista de Medicina, Rua Botucatu, 862, 04023-900, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

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BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:47  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-47

Published: 15 February 2010

Abstract

Background

Studies carried out during the 1990's demonstrated the presence of fungal glycoinositol phosphorylceramides (GIPCs) with unique structures, some of them showed reactivity with sera of patients with histoplasmosis, paracoccidioidomycosis or aspergillosis. It was also observed that fungal GIPCs were able to inhibit T lymphocyte proliferation "in vitro", and studies regarding the importance of these molecules to fungal survival showed that many species of fungi are vulnerable to inhibitors of sphingolipid biosynthesis.

Results

In this paper, we describe a detailed characterization of an IgG2a monoclonal antibody (mAb), termed MEST-3, directed to the Paracoccidioides brasiliensis glycolipid antigen Pb-2 (Manpα1→3Manpα1→2IPC). mAb MEST-3 also recognizes GIPCs bearing the same structure in other fungi. Studies performed on fungal cultures clearly showed the strong inhibitory activity of MEST-3 on differentiation and colony formation of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Histoplasma capsulatum and Sporothrix schenckii. Similar inhibitory results were observed when these fungi where incubated with a different mAb, which recognizes GIPCs bearing terminal residues of β-D-galactofuranose linked to mannose (mAb MEST-1). On the other hand, mAb MEST-2 specifically directed to fungal glucosylceramide (GlcCer) was able to promote only a weak inhibition on fungal differentiation and colony formation.

Conclusions

These results strongly suggest that mAbs directed to specific glycosphingolipids are able to interfere on fungal growth and differentiation. Thus, studies on surface distribution of GIPCs in yeast and mycelium forms of fungi may yield valuable information regarding the relevance of glycosphingolipids in processes of fungal growth, morphological transition and infectivity.