2002 Infect Immun. 2002 Mar;70(3):1558-65.
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.

Temporal expression of the Candida albicans genes CHK1 and CSSK1, adherence, and morphogenesis in a model of reconstituted human esophageal epithelial candidiasis

We previously demonstrated that genes encoding a putative two-component histidine kinase (CHK1) or a response regulator (CSSK1) are each required for virulence in a murine model of hematogenously disseminated candidiasis and that strains with each gene deleted are also defective in morphogenesis under certain growth conditions. In the present study, the role of these two genes in the adherence to and colonization of reconstituted human esophageal tissue (RHE) is described. We compared strains of Candida albicans with deletions of chk1 (strain CHK21) and cssk1 (strain CSSK21) to wild-type cells (CAF2), as well as strains with CHK1 and CSSK1 reconstituted (strains CHK23 and CSSK23, respectively). Adherence and colonization of RHE were evaluated in periodic acid-Schiff-stained sections, as well as by SEM. We observed that both deletion-containing strains colonized the RHE to a lesser extent than did CAF2 and that the percent germination by both strains was reduced in comparison to that of control strains at 1 h postinfection. Expression of CHK1 or CSSK1 was quantitated by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR from RHE tissues infected with wild-type C. albicans yeast cells. Expression of both CHK1 and CSSK1 increased over the 48-h period following infection of the tissue, although expression of CHK1 was greater than that of CSSK1. By RT-PCR, we have also shown that expression of CHK1 and CSSK1 in the strains with cssk1 and chk1 deleted, respectively, was similar to that of CAF2, indicating that CHK1 and CSSK1 do not regulate each other but probably encode signal proteins of different pathways. Our observations indicate that CHK1 and CSSK1 are each partially required for colonization and conversion to filamentous growth on RHE tissue.