What is Candida albicans? Candida albicans is the best studied and most prevalent of the human fungal pathogens. Candida species are fungi that grow as yeasts and that are ‘imperfect’, meaning they apparently lack a complete sexual cycle; yet C. albicans and several related species clearly have the potential to engage in ‘parasex’ (described below). C. albicans , thought to be an obligate diploid, can form true filamentous hyphae in addition to the budding yeast and pseudohyphal (elongated yeast) cells seen in other Candida species and in the model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae .</P>What kinds of conditions cause C. albicans to become a pathogen? C. albicans is an opportunistic pathogen that resides as a harmless commensal in the gut, genito-urinary tract and skin. It becomes an opportunistic pathogen under a number of different host conditions, usually involving reduced immune competence or an imbalance of the competing bacterial microflora. Mucosal infections, such as oral thrush or vaginitis, are usually not life-threatening, but they can be the sentinel symptom of immune suppression, for example in patients infected with HIV. Much more serious are blood stream candidal infections, which are associated with high mortality rates. The limited arsenal of antifungal drugs and
Current Biology – Elsevier
Published: Aug 21, 2012
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