Candida albicans-unique metabolic features

Phylogeny of sequenced Candida and Saccharomyces clade species. Figure from Butler et al., Nature 2009
Phylogeny of sequenced Candida and Saccharomyces clade species.
Figure from Butler et al., Nature 2009

Candida albicans is the most common cause of mucosal and systemic candidiasis. Other related Candida species, such as Candida glabrata, Candida parapsilosis, Candida tropicalis and the emerging pathogen Candida auris have also been associated with most forms of candidiasis, though far less frequently. C. albicans is very closely related to Candida dubliniensis, with which it shares many phenotypic properties, including the ability to produce hyphae, an important pathogenicity trait. Surprisingly, despite the close phylogenetic relationship of the two species epidemiological data show that C. albicans is far more prevalently associated with the host than C. dubliniensis. Certain features, such as differences in posttranslational regulation of hyphal growth distinguish the two species. Interestingly, C. dubliniensis seems to lack the metabolic flexibility of C. albicans, but the reasons for this remain unexplored. We argue that C. albicans possess specific metabolic features lacking in the closely related C. dubliniensis and C. africana that make it both a successful colonizer and a pathogen.