Pathogenicity Assessment of Colombian Strains of Candida auris in the Galleria mellonella Invertebrate Model
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Candida auris, first described in 2009, is an opportunistic pathogenic yeast that causes nosocomial outbreaks around the world, with high mortality rates associated with therapeutic failure. In this study, we evaluated the pathogenicity of 107 isolates from two cities in Colombia, associated with fungemia or colonization processes; to achieve this, we used the Galleria mellonella invertebrate model to compare pathogenicity. Our results showed that less than half of the total isolates of C. auris presented a high pathogenicity compared to the reference strain SC5314, and most of those highly pathogenic strains were from colonization processes. We observed that there was formation of large aggregates of cells that cannot be disrupted easily, without statistically significant differences between the pathogenicity of the aggregated and non-aggregated strains. In addition, protease activity was observed in 100% of the C. auris strains; phospholipase and hemolysin activity were observed in 67.3 and 68.2% of the studied strains, respectively. In conclusion, these results highlight the utility of determining survival using G. mellonella, which allowed us to provide new information on the pathogenicity, enzymatic activity, and the relationship of the aggregated and non-aggregated phenotypes of C. auris in this model.
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