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De Melo N.R.,University of Swansea | Abdrahman A.,University of Swansea | Greig C.,University of Swansea | Mukherjee K.,Institute For Phytopathologie Und Angewandte Zoologie | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Candida albicans is a major human pathogen whose treatment is challenging due to antifungal drug toxicity, drug resistance and paucity of antifungal agents available. Myrocin (MYR) inhibits sphingosine synthesis, a precursor of sphingolipids, an important cell membrane and signaling molecule component. MYR also has dual immune suppressive and antifungal properties, potentially modulating mammalian immunity and simultaneously reducing fungal infection risk. Wax moth (Galleria mellonella) larvae, alternatives to mice, were used to establish if MYR suppressed insect immunity and increased survival of C. albicans-infected insects. MYR effects were studied in vivo and in vitro, and compared alone and combined with those of approved antifungal drugs, fluconazole (FLC) and amphotericin B (AMPH). Insect immune defenses failed to inhibit C. albicans with high mortalities. In insects pretreated with the drug followed by C. albicans inoculation, MYR+C. albicans significantly increased mortality to 93% from 67% with C. albicans alone 48 h post-infection whilst AMPH+C. albicans and FLC +C. albicans only showed 26% and 0% mortalities, respectively. MYR combinations with other antifungal drugs in vivo also enhanced larval mortalities, contrasting the synergistic antifungal effect of the MYR+AMPH combination in vitro. MYR treatment influenced immunity and stress management gene expression during C. albicans pathogenesis, modulating transcripts putatively associated with signal transduction/regulation of cytokines, I-kappaB kinase/NF-kappaB cascade, G-protein coupled receptor and inflammation. In contrast, all stress management gene expression was down-regulated in FLC and AMPH pretreated C. albicans -infected insects. Results are discussed with their implications for clinical use of MYR to treat sphingolipid-associated disorders. © 2013 Melo et al. Source


Dubovskiy I.M.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Whitten M.M.A.,University of Swansea | Yaroslavtseva O.N.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Greig C.,University of Swansea | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Microevolutionary adaptations and mechanisms of fungal pathogen resistance were explored in a melanic population of the Greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella. Under constant selective pressure from the insect pathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana, 25th generation larvae exhibited significantly enhanced resistance, which was specific to this pathogen and not to another insect pathogenic fungus, Metarhizium anisopliae. Defense and stress management strategies of selected (resistant) and non-selected (susceptible) insect lines were compared to uncover mechanisms underpinning resistance, and the possible cost of those survival strategies. We hypothesize that the insects developed a transgenerationally primed resistance to the fungus B. bassiana, a costly trait that was achieved not by compromising life-history traits but rather by prioritizing and re-allocating pathogen-species-specific augmentations to integumental front-line defenses that are most likely to be encountered by invading fungi. Specifically during B. bassiana infection, systemic immune defenses are suppressed in favour of a more limited but targeted repertoire of enhanced responses in the cuticle and epidermis of the integument (e.g. expression of the fungal enzyme inhibitor IMPI, and cuticular phenoloxidase activity). A range of putative stress-management factors (e.g. antioxidants) is also activated during the specific response of selected insects to B. bassiana but not M. anisopliae. This too occurs primarily in the integument, and probably contributes to antifungal defense and/or helps ameliorate the damage inflicted by the fungus or the host's own immune responses. © 2013 Dubovskiy et al. Source

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