Hyphal-associated protein expression is crucial for Candida albicans-induced eicosanoid biosynthesis in immune cells.
Candida albicans causes opportunistic infections ranging from mucosal mycoses to life-threatening systemic infections in immunocompromised patients. During C. albicans infection, leukotrienes and prostaglandins are formed from arachidonic acid by 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) and cyclooxygenases, respectively to amplify inflammatory conditions, but also to initiate macrophage infiltration to achieve tissue homeostasis. Since less is known about the cellular mechanisms triggering such lipid mediator biosynthesis, we investigated the eicosanoid formation in monocyte-derived M1 and M2 macrophages, neutrophils and HEK293 cells transfected with 5-LOX and 5-LOX-activating protein (FLAP) in response to C. albicans yeast or hyphae. Leukotriene biosynthesis was exclusively induced by hyphae in neutrophils and macrophages, whereas prostaglandin E2 was also formed in response to yeast cells by M1 macrophages. Eicosanoid biosynthesis was significantly higher in M1 compared to M2 macrophages. In HEK_5-LOX/FLAP cells only hyphae activated the essential 5-LOX translocation to the nuclear membrane. Using yeast-locked C. albicans mutants, we demonstrated that hyphal-associated protein expression is critical in eicosanoid formation. For neutrophils and HEK_5-LOX/FLAP cells, hyphal wall protein 1 was identified as the essential surface protein that stimulates leukotriene biosynthesis. In summary, our data suggest that hyphal-associated proteins of C. albicans are central triggers of eicosanoid biosynthesis in human phagocytes.