Interaction with immune cells

Phagocytes such as macrophages and neutrophils are key players of the innate immune system and represent a crucial line of defense against pathogenic Candida species such as C. albicans and C. glabrata. This is particularly illustrated by the fact that invasive Candida infections rarely occur in healthy hosts, and a compromised immune system is one of the major predisposing factors for disease.

Recognition of Candida cells by phagocytes leads to cytokine production, phagocytosis, and the activation of antimicrobial effector functions to induce killing of the fungus. On the other hand, pathogenic Candida spp. are well adapted to their host and have developed mechanisms to evade or counteract the anti-microbial activities of phagocytes. One of these mechanisms is the adaptation of fungal metabolism to cope with nutrient limitation inside the phagosome. This and other strategies allow C. albicans and C. glabrata to not only survive phagocytosis by macrophages, but even proliferate intracellularly and escape. C. albicans escapes by rapid hyphal growth and host cell damage. In contrast, C. glabrata replicates as yeast cells inside macrophages and persists for days, before macrophages burst and fungal cells are released.

We want to characterize the interaction of C. albicans, C. glabrata, and C. auris with phagocytes. We are especially interested in the fungal factors and activities that help Candida to cope with these immune cells, survive and escape. Moreover, in close collaboration with the Junior Research Group Adaptive Pathogenicity Strategies we investigate how immunotherapy impacts on the interactions between C. albicans and macrophages and mitigates escape of C. albicans from macrophages. Therapies that aim at improving the innate immune system are increasingly recognized as essential in improving the outcome of fungal infections. Particularly interferon-γ is a promising candidate due to its potential of improving macrophage microbicidal activity.

Staff

Sophie Austermeier
Mark Gresnigt
Lydia Kasper
Annika König

Publications

Westman J, Walpole GFW, Kasper L, Xue BY, Elshafee O, Hube B, Grinstein S (2020) Lysosome fusion maintains phagosome integrity during fungal infection. Cell Host Microbe 28(6), 798-812.
Bacher P, Hohnstein T, Beerbaum E, Röcker M, Blango MG, Kaufmann S, Röhmel J, Eschenhagen P, Grehn C, Seidel K, Rickerts V, Lozza L, Stervbo U, Nienen M, Babel N, Milleck J, Assenmacher M, Cornely OA, Ziegler M, Wisplinghoff H, Heine G, Worm M, Siegmund B, Maul J, Creutz P, Tabeling C, Ruwwe-Glösenkamp C, Sander LE, Knosalla C, Brunke S, Hube B, Kniemeyer O, Brakhage AA, Schwarz C, Scheffold A (2019) Human anti-fungal Th17 immunity and pathology rely on cross-reactivity against Candida albicans. Cell 176(6), 1340-1355.
Domínguez-Andrés J, Novakovic B, Li Y, Scicluna BP, Gresnigt MS, Arts RJW, Oosting M, Moorlag SJCFM, Groh LA, Zwaag J, Koch RM, Ter Horst R, Joosten LAB, Wijmenga C, Michelucci A, van der Poll T, Kox M, Pickkers P, Kumar V, Stunnenberg H, Netea MG (2019) The itaconate pathway is a central regulatory node linking innate immune tolerance and trained immunity. Cell Metab 29(1), 211-220.e5.
Drummond RA, Swamydas M, Oikonomou V, Zhai B, Dambuza IM, Schaefer BC, Bohrer AC, Mayer-Barber KD, Lira SA, Iwakura Y, Filler SG, Brown GD, Hube B, Naglik JR, Hohl TM, Lionakis MS (2019) CARD9+ microglia promote antifungal immunity via IL-1β- and CXCL1-mediated neutrophil recruitment. Nat Immunol 20(5), 559-570.
Grondman I, Arts RJW, Koch RM, Leijte GP, Gerretsen J, Bruse N, Kempkes RWM, Ter Horst R, Kox M, Pickkers P, Netea MG, Gresnigt MS (2019) Frontline science: Endotoxin-induced immunotolerance is associated with loss of monocyte metabolic plasticity and reduction of oxidative burst. J Leukoc Biol 106(1), 11-25.
Ho J, Yang X, Nikou SA, Kichik N, Donkin A, Ponde NO, Richardson JP, Gratacap RL, Archambault LS, Zwirner CP, Murciano C, Henley-Smith R, Thavaraj S, Tynan CJ, Gaffen SL, Hube B, Wheeler RT, Moyes DL, Naglik JR (2019) Candidalysin activates innate epithelial immune responses via epidermal growth factor receptor. Nat Commun 10(1), 2297.
Ishchuk OP, Ahmad KM, Koruza K, Bojanovič K, Sprenger M, Kasper L, Brunke S, Hube B, Säll T, Hellmark T, Gullstrand B, Brion C, Freel K, Schacherer J, Regenberg B, Knecht W, Piškur J (2019) RNAi as a tool to study virulence in the pathogenic yeast Candida glabrata. Front Microbiol 10, 1679.
Jaeger M, Pinelli M, Borghi M, Constantini C, Dindo M, van Emst L, Puccetti M, Pariano M, Ricaño-Ponce I, Büll C, Gresnigt MS, Wang X, Gutierrez Achury J, Jacobs CWM, Xu N, Oosting M, Arts P, Joosten LAB, van de Veerdonk FL, Veltman JA, Ten Oever J, Kullberg BJ, Feng M, Adema GJ, Wijmenga C, Kumar V, Sobel J, Gilissen C, Romani L, Netea MG (2019) A systems genomics approach identifies SIGLEC15 as a susceptibility factor in recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. Sci Transl Med 11(496), eaar3558.
Naglik JR, Gaffen SL, Hube B (2019) Candidalysin: Discovery and function in Candida albicans infections. Curr Opin Microbiol 52, 100-109. (Review)
Swidergall M, Khalaji M, Solis N, Moyes D, Drummond R, Hube B, Lionakis M, Murdoch C, Filler S, Naglik J (2019) Candidalysin is required for neutrophil recruitment and virulence during systemic Candida albicans infection. J Infect Dis 220(9), 1477-1488.

Funding