Influence of iron deprivation and sub-inhibitory concentrations of antifungal antibiotics on surface antigens of candida albicans yeast cells
This study examined the effect of iron deprivation and sub-inhibitory concentrations of antifungal agents on yeast cell surface antigen recognition by antibodies from patients with Candida infections. Separation of cell wall surface proteins by sodium dodecyl-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and immunological detection by immunoblotting, revealed that antigenic profiles of yeasts were profoundly influenced by the growth environment. Cells grown under iron-depleted conditions expressed several iron-regulated proteins that were recognized by antibodies from patient sera. An attempt to characterize these proteins by lectin blotting with concanavalin A revealed that some could be glycoprotein in nature. Furthermore, these proteins which were located within cell walls and on yeast surfaces, were barely or not expressed in yeasts cultivated under iron-sufficient conditions. The magnitude and heterogeneity of human antibody responses to these iron-regulated proteins were dependent on the type of Candida infection, serum antibody class and yeast strain. Hydroxamate-type siderophores were also detected in supernatants of iron depleted yeast cultures. This evidence suggests that Candida albicans expresses iron-regulated proteins/glycoproteins in vitro which may play a role in siderophore-mediated iron uptake in Candida albicans. Sequential monitoring of IgG antibodies directed against yeast surface antigens during immunization of rabbits revealed that different antigens were recognized particularly during early and later stages of immunization in iron-depleted cells compared to iron-sufficient cells. In vitro and in vivo adherence studies demonstrated that growth phase, yeast strain and growth conditions affect adhesion mechanisms. In particular, growth under iron-depletion in the presence of sub-inhibitory concentrations of polyene and azole antifungals enhanced the hydrophobicity of C.albicans. Growth conditions also influenced MICs of antifungals, notably that of ketoconazole. Sub-inhibitory concentrations of amphotericin B and fluconazole had little effect on surface antigens, whereas nystatin induced profound changes in surface antigens of yeast cells. The effects of such drug concentrations on yeast cells coupled with host defence mechanisms may have a significant affect on the course of Candida infections.