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Clinical isolates of yeast produce a gliotoxin-like substance

Abstract

Candida infections are major causes of morbidity in compromised human hosts, but our understanding of the virulence of Candida remains incomplete. The possibility that toxic fungal metabolites belonging to the chemical class epipolythiodioxopiperzine (ETP), which are reported to possess immunomodulating and antiphagocytic properties may be produced by Candida species was investigated. Reversed phase HPLC analysis of flash evaporated chloroform extracts of 7 day cultures of clinical Candida isolates grown in Minimal Essential Medium (MEM) with 5% fetal calf serum revealed the presence of a compound which eluted at the same time as the ETP, gliotoxin. Of 50 strains of yeast tested, 32 produced this gliotoxin-like material. This material was tested for other properties of ETP type toxins including the presence of mercaptans (Ellman reaction), ultraviolet absorbance spectrum and antibacterial activity against Micrococcus lutea. These tests revealed gliotoxin-like material from yeast cultures to be similar to commercially supplied gliotoxin. This represents the first report of the presence of ETP-like compounds in yeast and raises the possibility that ETP's may contribute to the virulence of the organism.

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Shah, D.T., Larsen, B. Clinical isolates of yeast produce a gliotoxin-like substance. Mycopathologia 116, 203–208 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00436836

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00436836

Key words

  • Candida albicans
  • mycotoxin
  • gliotoxin
  • virulence