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Open Access Research article

The MP65 gene is required for cell wall integrity, adherence to epithelial cells and biofilm formation in Candida albicans

Silvia Sandini1*, Annarita Stringaro2, Silvia Arancia1, Marisa Colone2, Francesca Mondello1, Susanna Murtas3, Antonietta Girolamo1, Nicolina Mastrangelo2 and Flavia De Bernardis1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immuno-mediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, Rome, 00161, Italy

2 Department of Technology and Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, Rome, 00161, Italy

3 Center for Immunobiologicals Research and Evaluation, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, Rome, 00161, Italy

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BMC Microbiology 2011, 11:106  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-11-106

Published: 16 May 2011

Abstract

Background

The MP65 gene of Candida albicans (orf19.1779) encodes a putative β-glucanase mannoprotein of 65 kDa, which plays a main role in a host-fungus relationship, morphogenesis and pathogenicity. In this study, we performed an extensive analysis of a mp65Δ mutant to assess the role of this protein in cell wall integrity, adherence to epithelial cells and biofilm formation.

Results

The mp65Δ mutant showed a high sensitivity to a range of cell wall-perturbing and degrading agents, especially Congo red, which induced morphological changes such as swelling, clumping and formation of hyphae. The mp65Δ mutant showed an activation of two MAPKs (Mkc1p and Cek1p), a high level of expression of two stress-related genes (DDR48 and SOD5), and a modulated expression of β-glucan epitopes, but no gross changes in cell wall polysaccharide composition. Interestingly, the mp65Δ mutant displayed a marked reduction in adhesion to BEC and Caco-2 cells and severe defects in biofilm formation when compared to the wild type. All of the mentioned properties were totally or partially recovered in a revertant strain, demonstrating the specificity of gene deletion.

Conclusions

We demonstrate that the MP65 gene of Candida albicans plays a significant role in maintaining cell wall integrity, as well as in adherence to epithelia and biofilm formation, which are major virulence attributes of this fungus.