Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy vol:58 issue:5 pages:2647-2656
We previously identified a decapeptide from the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, OSIP108, which is induced upon fungal pathogen infection. In this study, we demonstrated that OSIP108 interferes with biofilm formation of the fungal pathogen C. albicans, without affecting viability or growth of C. albicans cells. OSIP108 displayed no cytotoxicity against various human cell lines. Furthermore, OSIP108 enhanced the activity of the antifungal agents amphotericin B and caspofungin in vitro and in vivo in a Caenorhabditis elegans-C. albicans biofilm infection model. These data point to the potential use of OSIP108 in combination therapy with conventional antifungal agents. In a first attempt to unravel its mode of action, we screened a library of 137 homozygous C. albicans mutants, affected in genes encoding for cell wall proteins or transcription factors important for biofilm formation, for altered OSIP108-sensitivity. We identified 9 OSIP108-resistant C. albicans mutants, either defective in components important for cell wall integrity or yeast-to-hypha transition. In line with these findings, we demonstrated that OSIP108 activates the C. albicans cell wall integrity pathway and that its antibiofilm activity can be blocked by compounds inhibiting the yeast-to-hypha transition. Furthermore, we found that OSIP108 is predominantly localized at the C. albicans cell surface. These data point to interference of OSIP108 with cell wall-related processes of C. albicans, resulting in impaired biofilm formation.