Both the growth and respiration of Candida albicans are sensitive to extracts of Allium sativum and investigations into the anticandidal activities are now focussing on the purified constituents to determine the targets of inhibition. Of particular interest is allyl alcohol (AA), a metabolic product that accumulates after trituration of garlic cloves. Putative targets for AA were investigated by monitoring changes in intracellular responses after exposure of C. albicans cells to AA or a commercially available garlic extract. Two-photon laser scanning microscopy and other techniques were used. Changes typical of oxidative stress - NADH oxidation and glutathione depletion, and increased reactive oxygen species - were observed microscopically and by flow cytometry. Known targets for AA are alcohol dehydrogenases Adh1 and 2 (in the cytosol) and Adh3 (mitochondrial), although the significant decrease in NAD(P)H after addition of AA is indicative of another mechanism of action.
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