Mechanism For Fungal Adherence Found, Possible Key To Disease

lity to adhere to mammalian cells.

"That gave us the evidence that these very tight attachments are formed between the Candida filaments and the epithelial cells and that they're dependent on this gene (and its subsequent protein) being present," she said.

The researchers wanted to test if this discovery might be important in causing the actual Candidiasis infections, as well as the organism's enhanced ability to hang on. They injected one group of mice with Candida strains with the transglutaminase-binding protein intact and another group with Candida lacking the protein. Mice in the first group quickly succumbed to the infections while those receiving protein-free Candida fared far better. This showed that the protein's presence plays an important role in the course of the disease.

Sundstrom hopes that once they understand fully the mechanism of adhesion in these filaments, then they'll be able to discover inhibitors to alter that process.

"If we can do that, then Candida is going to have a more difficult time colonizing, growing and proliferating on mucosal surfaces," she explained. "And if it can't proliferate, it will be less likely to invade and cause more severe infections."

Sundstrom has filed for a patent based on her research.

Along with Staab, Sundstrom and Bradway, P.L. Fidel of Louisiana State University contributed to the research. The study was supported by both

Contact: Paula Sundstrom
Ohio State University

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