Paper published by GSBS student
GSBS Student Kim Brothers and her mentor Rob Wheeler recently had a paper published in the journal Eukaryotic Cell. The paper is entitled “Live Imaging of disseminated candidiasis in zebrafish reveals role of phagocyte oxidase in limiting filamentous growth”.
Yeast infections are experienced by 3/4 of women, and the most common cause is the fungus Candida albicans. C. albicans also causes lethal bloodstream infections in immunocompromised patients and is difficult to treat. We are using the zebrafish as an alternative host for C. albicans infection, for ethical as well as technical reasons. In addition to its lower evolutionary status, the zebrafish model is useful because we can image the pitched battle between pathogen and host in real-time using the confocal fluorescence microscope. In this paper, we watched macrophages and neutrophils eat and kill fungi. We also saw what happens when part of the immune system is defective, allowing the fungi to germinate filaments that burst through the skin and kill the fish. We are now using this model to understand how fungi travel from one tissue to another within the host, and how immune cells kill the fungi.