Mechanism For Fungal Adherence Found, Possible Key To Disease

archers found a protein that also bound to transglutaminase.

"We wondered why Candida would have a substrate protein for these mammalian enzymes," Sundstrom said. "We're talking about a fungal protein that is a substrate for a mammalian enzyme. This enzyme is special since it can cross-link proteins together, two different proteins. Most enzymes don't do that."

They discovered that when the protein in the fungi filaments uses the enzyme to link to the protein in the epithelial cells, it forms a covalent bond -- the strongest type possible -- giving it great adhesive capabilities. This type of covalent adhesion has not been described previously in any viruses, bacteria, fungi or other microorganisms.

Several years ago, S.D. Bradway, a former assistant professor of periodontology at Ohio State and co-author on this paper, showed that Candida albicans could form stable attachments. However, that work did not identify what proteins were involved.

Sundstrom's group used a strain of Candida in which the transglutaminase-binding protein had been removed and tested its ability to adhere to human oral mucosal cells. Without the protein, there was a five-fold reduction in the ability of Candida to attach. When the gene was replaced, stable attachments were again formed. This proved that Sundstrom's newly discovered gene was a key in the fungus" abi

Contact: Paula Sundstrom
Ohio State University

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