Cryptococcal Cell Morphology Affects Host Cell Interactions and Pathogenicity


Cryptococcus neoformans is a common life-threatening human fungal pathogen. The size of cryptococcal cells is typically 5 to 10 µm. Cell enlargement was observed in vivo, producing cells up to 100 µm. These morphological changes in cell size affected pathogenicity via reducing phagocytosis by host mononuclear cells, increasing resistance to oxidative and nitrosative stress, and correlated with reduced penetration of the central nervous system. Cell enlargement was stimulated by coinfection with strains of opposite mating type, and ste3aΔ pheromone receptor mutant strains had reduced cell enlargement. Finally, analysis of DNA content in this novel cell type revealed that these enlarged cells were polyploid, uninucleate, and produced daughter cells in vivo. These results describe a novel mechanism by which C. neoformans evades host phagocytosis to allow survival of a subset of the population at early stages of infection. Thus, morphological changes play unique and specialized roles during infection.


Vyšlo v časopise: Cryptococcal Cell Morphology Affects Host Cell Interactions and Pathogenicity. PLoS Pathog 6(6): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000953
Kategorie: Research Article
prolekare.web.journal.doi_sk: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000953

Souhrn

Cryptococcus neoformans is a common life-threatening human fungal pathogen. The size of cryptococcal cells is typically 5 to 10 µm. Cell enlargement was observed in vivo, producing cells up to 100 µm. These morphological changes in cell size affected pathogenicity via reducing phagocytosis by host mononuclear cells, increasing resistance to oxidative and nitrosative stress, and correlated with reduced penetration of the central nervous system. Cell enlargement was stimulated by coinfection with strains of opposite mating type, and ste3aΔ pheromone receptor mutant strains had reduced cell enlargement. Finally, analysis of DNA content in this novel cell type revealed that these enlarged cells were polyploid, uninucleate, and produced daughter cells in vivo. These results describe a novel mechanism by which C. neoformans evades host phagocytosis to allow survival of a subset of the population at early stages of infection. Thus, morphological changes play unique and specialized roles during infection.


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