Stylianou M, Uvell H, Lopes JP, Enquist P, Elofsson M, Urban CF
J Biomol Screen 20 (2) 285-291 [2015-02-00; online 2014-10-05]
Invasive mycoses have been increasing worldwide, with Candida spp. being the most prevalent fungal pathogen causing high morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised individuals. Only few antimycotics exist, often with severe side effects. Therefore, new antifungal drugs are urgently needed. Because the identification of antifungal compounds depends on fast and reliable assays, we present a new approach based on high-throughput image analysis to define cell morphology. Candida albicans and other fungi of the Candida clade switch between different growth morphologies, from budding yeast to filamentous hyphae. Yeasts are considered proliferative, whereas hyphae are required for invasion and dissemination. Thus, morphotype switching in many Candida spp. is connected to virulence and pathogenesis. It is, consequently, reasonable to presume that morphotype blockers interfere with the virulence, thereby preventing hazardous colonization. Our method efficiently differentiates yeast from hyphal cells using a combination of automated microscopy and image analysis. We selected the parameters length/width ratio and mean object shape to quantitatively discriminate yeasts and hyphae. Notably, Z' factor calculations for these parameters confirmed the suitability of our method for high-throughput screening. As a second stage, we determined cell viability to discriminate morphotype-switching inhibitors from those that are fungicidal. Thus, our method serves as a basis for the identification of candidates for next-generation antimycotics.
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Laboratories for Chemical Biology Umeå (LCBU)