Candida, a special type of fungi.
Candidalysin is a peptide toxin that is generated by the yeast, Candida albicans. C. albicans is an interesting type of yeast, because typically yeasts are a type of fungi that do not form hypha, the long, filamentous structures commonly associated with fungi. However, C. albicans can be induced to form hyphae, in a reversible process. It is ordinarily benign and naturally occurring in the human mucosal microbiota, but when given the opportunity of a weakened immune system, it can become lethal and is responsible for almost half a million deaths per year, worldwide.1,2 This month in Nature Communications, a team led by Lydia Kasper looked at the missing link between C. albicans hypha formation and host cell formation. Candidalysin is secreted by the hypha of C. albicans and triggers inflammasome-dependent cytolysis through Caspase-1 activation. It also is a key driver of inflammosome-independent cytolysis of macrophages. Their work found “Candidalysin as the first fungal toxin with such dual action on phagocytes of the innate immune system.”3 Read more about their research here.
- S. Pasricha & J. S. Pearson, Cell Death Discovery, 2, 16035 (2016).
- D. L. Moyes et al., Nature, 532(7597), 64 (2016).
- L. Kasper et al., Nature Communications, 9, 4260 (2018).