"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Unraveling Candida evolution: recent insights into fungal infections

Global fungal infections, which affect one billion people and cause 1.5 million deaths annually, are on the rise as a result of an increasing variety of medical treatments that increase the chance. Patients undergoing chemotherapy or immunosuppressive therapy after an organ transplant often have a compromised immune system. Given the emergence of resistant strains, the limited number of current antifungal drugs, in addition to their cost and uncomfortable side effects, these infections are difficult to treat and more practical treatments are urgently needed.

In this context, a team from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center – Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS), led by ICREA researcher Dr. Tony Gabaldon, identified lots of of gene articles. Who is Recent, clinically relevant selection in six fungal pathogen species.

“This work highlights how these pathogens interact with humans and antifungal drugs and provides valuable information that may lead to better treatment of infections,” said Dr Gabaldon, IRB Barcelona and BSC. Describe the Head of the Comparative Genomics Lab.

Over 2,000 genomes from 6 different species

This study sheds light on the evolutionary landscape of Candida pathogens by analyzing nearly 2,000 genomes from clinical samples of six major Candida species. These genomes are stored in public databases. The researchers compared these genomes to a reference, making a comprehensive catalog of genetic variations.

Based on previous work addressing drug-resistant strains, the researchers conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) to discover genetic variants related to antifungal drug resistance in clinical isolates. This approach provided insight into each known and novel mechanisms of resistance to seven antifungal drugs in three Candida species. “In addition, this study also revealed a related finding: the potential spread of resistance through mating between susceptible and resistant strains, which contributes to the spread of drug-resistant Candida pathogens,” Dr. McCall said. Angel Shikura Tamarit, a postdoctoral researcher, explains. Same lab and first creator of the study.

In addition, by specializing in recently acquired variation amongst clinical strains, the research uncovered shared and species-specific genetic signatures of recent selection that indicate adaptations to thrive in human-relevant environments. What adaptations could be needed to spread?

In addition to recent insights into Candida adaptation, the study provides a precious resource, namely a comprehensive catalog of variants, signatures of selection, and drivers of drug resistance. This knowledge not only contributes to our understanding of those infections, but in addition lays the muse for future experiments and possible advances in the event of more practical treatments for Candida infections.

This work was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, The European Research Council, and “la Caixa” Foundation.