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Inhibition of Vesicular Transport Influences Fungal Susceptibility to Fluconazole.

Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy (2019-02-21)
Liesbeth Demuyser, Katrien Van Dyck, Bea Timmermans, Patrick Van Dijck

Fungal infections pose a substantial threat to the human population. They can cause either mild and relatively harmless infections or invasive and often lethal diseases in patients with a weakened immune system. The majority of these human fungal infections are caused by Candida species. The limited amount of available therapies, together with the development of resistance against these drugs, strongly emphasizes the need for novel therapeutic strategies. As it is quite time-consuming to introduce completely new drugs to the market, potentiating the efficacy of existing drugs would be a better strategy. Therefore, it is important to identify cellular pathways involved in the development of drug resistance. We found that vesicular transport is involved in fungal susceptibility to the most widely used antifungal drug, fluconazole. We identified specific complexes in the vesicular transport pathway which contribute to fluconazole resistance or tolerance in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae Furthermore, we confirmed our findings in the clinically relevant fungi Candida albicans and Candida glabrata Finally, we show that the combination of fluconazole with a specific inhibitor of the vesicular transport pathway increases the susceptibility of Candida species, indicating the potential of using vesicular transport as a target in combination therapy.