Cryptococcus neoformans cells in biofilms are less susceptible than planktonic cells to antimicrobial molecules produced by the innate immune system

Luis R. Martinez, Arturo Casadevall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans can form biofilms on polystyrene plates and medical devices in a process that requires capsular polysaccharide release. Although biofilms are known to be less susceptible to antimicrobial drugs, little is known about their susceptibility to antimicrobial molecules produced by the innate immune system. In this study, we investigated the susceptibility of C. neoformans cells in biofilm and planktonic states to oxidative and nonoxidative antimicrobial molecules produced by phagocytic cells. The effects of various immune effector molecules on the fungal mass, metabolic activity, and architecture of C. neoformans biofilms were measured by colony counts, 2,3-bis(2-methosy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl)-5-[(phenylamino) carbonyl]-2H-tetrazolium hydroxide reduction, and confocal microscopy, respectively. Biofilms were more resistant than planktonic cells to oxidative stress but remained vulnerable to cationic antimicrobial peptides. However, melanized biofilms were significantly less susceptible to antimicrobial peptides than nonmelanized biofilms. These results suggest that the biofilm phenotype increases resistance against host immune mechanisms, a phenomenon that could contribute to the ability of biofilm-forming microbes to establish persistent infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6118-6123
Number of pages6
JournalInfection and immunity
Volume74
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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