A common vesicle proteome drives fungal biofilm development

Extracellular Vesicles

Extracellular vesicles mediate community interactions among cells ranging from unicellular microbes to complex vertebrates. Extracellular vesicles of the fungal pathogen Candida albicans are vital for biofilm communities to produce matrix, which confers environmental protection and modulates community dispersion. Infections are increasingly due to diverse Candida species, such as the emerging pathogen Candida auris, as well as mixed Candida communities. Here, we define the composition and function of biofilm-associated vesicles among five species across the Candida genus. We find similarities in vesicle size and release over the biofilm lifespan. Whereas overall cargo proteomes differ dramatically among species, a group of 36 common proteins is enriched for orthologs of C. albicans biofilm mediators. To understand the function of this set of proteins, we asked whether mutants in select components were important for key biofilm processes, including drug tolerance and dispersion. We found that the majority of these cargo components impact one or both biofilm processes across all five species. Exogenous delivery of wild-type vesicle cargo returned mutant phenotypes toward wild type. To assess the impact of vesicle cargo on interspecies interactions, we performed cross-species vesicle addition and observed functional complementation for both biofilm phenotypes. We explored the biologic relevance of this cross-species biofilm interaction in mixed species and mutant studies examining the drug-resistance phenotype. We found a majority of biofilm interactions among species restored the community's wild-type behavior. Our studies indicate that vesicles influence the development of protective monomicrobial and mixed microbial biofilm communities.

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Recent Publications

Cigarette smoke (CS) represents one of the most relevant environmental risk factors for several chronic pathologies. Tissue damage caused by CS exposure is mediated, at least in part, by oxidative stress induced by its toxic and pro-oxidant components. Evidence demonstrates that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by various cell types exposed to CS extract (CSE) are characterized by altered biochemical cargo and gained pathological properties. In the present study, we evaluated the content of oxidized proteins and phospholipid fatty acid profiles of EVs released by human bronchial epithelial BEAS-2B cells treated with CSE. This specific molecular characterization has hitherto not been performed. After confirmation that CSE reduces viability of BEAS-2B cells and elevates intracellular ROS levels, in a dose-dependent manner, we demonstrated that 24 h exposure at 1% CSE, a concentration that only slight modifies cell viability but increases ROS levels, was able to increase carbonylated protein levels in cells and released EVs. The release of oxidatively modified proteins via EVs might represent a mechanism used by cells to remove toxic proteins in order to avoid their intracellular overloading. Moreover, 1% CSE induced only few changes in the fatty acid asset in BEAS-2B cell membrane phospholipids, whereas several rearrangements were observed in EVs released by CSE-treated cells. The impact of changes in acyl chain composition of CSE-EVs accounted for the increased saturation levels of phospholipids, a membrane parameter that might influence EV stability, uptake and, at least in part, EV-mediated biological effects. The present in vitro study adds new information concerning the biochemical composition of CSE-related EVs, useful to predict their biological effects on target cells. Furthermore, the information regarding the presence of oxidized proteins and the specific membrane features of CSE-related EVs can be useful to define the utilization of circulating EVs as marker for diagnosing of CS-induced lung damage and/or CS-related diseases.

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