The pathogenesis of candidiasis involves invasion of host tissues by filamentous forms of the opportunistic yeast Candida albicans. Morphology- specific gene products may confer proinvasive properties. A hypha-specific surface protein, Hwp1, with similarities to mammalian small proline-rich proteins was shown to serve as a substrate for mammalian transglutaminases. Candida albicans strains lacking Hwp1 were unable to form stable attachments to human buccal epithelial cells and had a reduced capacity to cause systemic candidiasis in mice. This represents a paradigm for microbial adhesion that implicates essential host enzymes.
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