• Comparative Evaluations of the Pathogenesis of Candida auris Phenotypes and Candida albicans Using Clinically Relevant Murine Models of Infections

      Vila, Taissa; Montelongo-Jauregui, Daniel; Ahmed, Hussian; Puthran, Taanya; Sultan, Ahmed S; Jabra-Rizk, Mary Ann (American Society for Microbiology, 2020-08-05)
      The newly emerged Candida species Candida auris is associated with an exponential rise in life-threatening invasive disease in health care facilities worldwide. Unlike other species, C. auris exhibits a high level of transmissibility, multidrug resistance, and persistence in the environment, yet little is known about its pathogenesis largely due to limited data from animal models. Based on in vitro biofilm evaluations and confocal laser scanning microscopy, C. auris phenotypes with different biofilm-forming abilities were identified, indicating potential clinical implications. Using clinically relevant murine models of implanted catheter, oral, and intraperitoneal infections, we comparatively evaluated the host site-specific pathogenic potential of C. auris phenotypes and Candida albicans Based on the results of microbial recovery and scanning electron microscopy analysis of explanted catheters, compared to C. albicans, C. auris more avidly adhered and formed biofilms on catheters. However, although C. auris adhered to oral tissue ex vivo, unlike C. albicans, it failed to colonize the oral cavity in vivo, as demonstrated by microbial recovery and tissue histopathology analysis. In contrast, recovery from peritoneal lavage fluid and kidneys during time course experiments demonstrated that C. auris persisted longer in the peritoneal cavity and kidneys. Although there were clear niche-specific differences in pathogenic features between C. auris and C. albicans, no significant differences were noted between the C. auris phenotypes in vivo The combined findings highlight unique niche-specific pathogenic traits for C. auris warranting further investigations. Understanding the factors contributing to the rise of C. auris as a nosocomial pathogen is critical for controlling the spread of this species.IMPORTANCE The newly emerged Candida species C. auris has been associated with an exponential rise in invasive disease in health care facilities worldwide with a mortality rate approaching 60%. C. auris exhibits a high level of transmissibility, multidrug resistance, and persistence in hospital environments, yet little is known about its pathogenesis largely due to limited data from animal studies. We used clinically relevant murine models of infection to comparatively evaluate the host niche-specific pathogenic potential of C. auris and C. albicans Findings demonstrated that C. auris adheres more avidly, forming robust biofilms on catheters implanted in mice. However, although C. auris adhered to oral tissue ex vivo, it failed to colonize the oral cavity in vivo In contrast, in the intraperitoneal infection model, C. auris persisted longer in the peritoneal cavity and kidneys. Understanding the host-pathogen factors contributing to the rise of C. auris as a nosocomial pathogen is critical for controlling the spread of this species.