, Volume 174, Issue 2, pp 107–119 | Cite as

Deletion of the Candida albicans PIR32 Results in Increased Virulence, Stress Response, and Upregulation of Cell Wall Chitin Deposition

  • Wael Bahnan
  • Joseph Koussa
  • Samer Younes
  • Marybel Abi Rizk
  • Bassem Khalil
  • Sally El Sitt
  • Samer Hanna
  • Mirvat El-Sibai
  • Roy A. Khalaf


Candida albicans is a common opportunistic pathogen that causes a wide variety of diseases in a human immunocompromised host leading to death. In a pathogen, cell wall proteins are important for stability as well as for acting as antigenic determinants and virulence factors. Pir32 is a cell wall protein and member of the Pir protein family previously shown to be upregulated in response to macrophage contact and whose other member, Pir1, was found to be necessary for cell wall rigidity. The purpose of this study is to characterize Pir32 by generating a homozygous null strain and comparing the phenotype of the null with that of the wild-type parental strain as far as filamentation, virulence in a mouse model of disseminated candidiasis, resistance to oxidative stress and cell wall disrupting agents, in addition to adhesion, biofilm capacities, and cell wall chitin content. Our mutant was shown to be hyperfilamentous, resistant to sodium dodecyl sulfate, hydrogen peroxide, sodium chloride, and more virulent in a mouse model when compared to the wild type. These results were unexpected, considering that most cell wall mutations weaken the wall and render it more susceptible to external stress factors and suggests the possibility of a cell surface compensatory mechanism. As such, we measured cell wall chitin deposition and found a twofold increase in the mutant, possibly explaining the above-observed phenotypes.


Candida albicans Virulence Adhesion Cell wall 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wael Bahnan
    • 1
  • Joseph Koussa
    • 1
  • Samer Younes
    • 1
  • Marybel Abi Rizk
    • 1
  • Bassem Khalil
    • 1
  • Sally El Sitt
    • 1
  • Samer Hanna
    • 1
  • Mirvat El-Sibai
    • 1
  • Roy A. Khalaf
    • 1
  1. 1.Natural Sciences DepartmentLebanese American UniversityByblosLebanon

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