Interspecies Interactions between Clostridium difficile and Candida albicans

P.T. van Leeuwen, J.M. van der Peet, F.J. Bikker, M.A. Hoogenkamp, A.M. Oliveira Paiva, S. Kostidis, O.A. Mayboroda, W.K. Smits, B.P. Krom

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The facultative anaerobic polymorphic fungus Candida albicans and the strictly anaerobic Gram-positive bacterium Clostridium difficile are two opportunistic pathogens residing in the human gut. While a few studies have focused on the prevalence of C. albicans in C. difficile-infected patients, the nature of the interactions between these two microbes has not been studied thus far. In the current study, both chemical and physical interactions between C. albicans and C. difficile were investigated. In the presence of C. albicans, C. difficile was able to grow under aerobic, normally toxic, conditions. This phenomenon was neither linked to adherence of bacteria to hyphae nor to biofilm formation by C. albicans. Conditioned medium of C. difficile inhibited hyphal growth of C. albicans, which is an important virulence factor of the fungus. In addition, it induced hypha-to-yeast conversion. p-Cresol, a fermentation product of tyrosine produced by C. difficile, also induced morphological effects and was identified as an active component of the conditioned medium. This study shows that in the presence of C. albicans, C. difficile can persist and grow under aerobic conditions. Furthermore, p-cresol, produced by C. difficile, is involved in inhibiting hypha formation of C. albicans, directly affecting the biofilm formation and virulence of C. albicans. This study is the first detailed characterization of the interactions between these two gut pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00187-16
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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