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Virulence Factors And Evasion Of The Human Defense System Of Fungus

1567 words - 6 pages

A dimorphic fungus known as Candida albicans is the highest investigated and most common fungal pathogen in humans, capable of evading the human complement system. It populates the oral and genitourinary cavity surfaces, the digestive tract and triggers an array of infections that are dependent upon the character of latent imperfections in the host. As a former hospital employee that has witnessed firsthand accounts of the increasing degree of such infections, it sparked my curiosity to investigate the reason and manner in which this fungi can achieve such virulence. C. albicans undergoes a parasexual cycle, also known as an alternation of generations, where diploids form tetraploids, only to return once again to a near-diploid state, all without the conventional use of meiosis. The slowly emerging knowledge on various pathways of pathogenicity with this fungus, such as morphological switching, forming biofilms, diploidism, and virulence factors in proteins, will add to devising the creation of fungal resistant medicines.

Complement systems in mammals continually act as the primary course of immune defense by default and are present at all locations in the body. They are both inherent and adaptive reactions that cooperate conjunctively to systematically discern, attack and eradicate not only external infectious microorganisms, but also any undesirable material - such as the remains of billions of cells that die via apoptosis or necrosis daily - and immune networks from within. It is a rise in capability of microbial pathogens to resist antibiotics and anti-fungal medicines that remains a crucial component in understanding and treating major infections worldwide, primarily in hospital settings where a patient’s immunity is lowest due to already present illnesses. C. albicans can infect healthy individuals, however, this scenario does not occur frequently (Zipfel et al. 2013).

Candida species give rise to dangerous opportunistic infections in humans, growing as a yeast-like organism. It dwells commensally on the skin, within the genitourinary tract and gut as an opportunistic pathogen waiting for conditions suitable to thrive in such as a disproportion in the battling bacterial flora or reduced immune capabilities. C. albicans demonstrates dimorphism, displayed in figure 1, where it begins as a blastospore (A), a unicellular state that divides though budding (Chaffin et al. 1998). Under certain environmental influences, the blastospore will begin to grow cylindrically to create a germ tube (B). These germ tubes continue to grow while septa is added to the apical end, generating a hypha (C), and mycelium structures extend from these hyphal branches (D). The final stage consists of secondary blastospores detaching from the filament (E) to repeat the process once more (Jones et al. 2004). The filamentous form is preferred only when the pH is neutral and the temperature is 35°C. These conditions result in up to 1 x 106 blastophores per...

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