Lactate signalling regulates fungal β-glucan masking and immune evasion

Elizabeth Ballou, Gabriela M. Avelar, Delma S. Childers, Joanna Mackie, Judith M. Bain, Jeanette Wagener, Stavroula L. Kastora, M. D. Panea, Sarah E. Hardison, Louise Walker, Lars P. Erwig, Carol A. Munro, Neil A. R. Gow, G. D. Brown, Donna M. MacCallum, Alistair J. P. Brown* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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As they proliferate, fungi expose antigens at their cell surface that are potent stimulators of the innate immune response, and yet the commensal fungus Candida albicans is able to colonize immuno competent individuals. We show that C. albicans may evade immune detection by presenting a moving immunological target. We report that the exposure of β-glucan, a key pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) located at the cell surface of C. albicans and other pathogenic Candida species, is modulated in response to changes in the carbon source. Exposure to lactate induces β-glucan masking in C. albicans via a signalling pathway that has recruited an evolutionarily conserved receptor (Gpr1) and transcriptional factor (Crz1) from other well-characterized pathways. In response to lactate, these regulators control the expression of cell-wall-related genes that contribute to β-glucan masking. This represents the first description of active PAMP masking by a Candida species, a process that reduces the visibility of the fungus to the immune system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number16238
JournalNature Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 12 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

AJPB: This work was supported by the European Research Council (STRIFE, ERC-
2009-AdG-249793), The UK Medical Research Council (MR/M026663/1), the UK Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BB/K017365/1), the Wellcome Trust (080088; 097377). ERB: This work was supported by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BB/M014525/1). GMA: Supported by the CNPq-Brazil (Science without Borders fellowship 202976/2014-9). GDB: Wellcome Trust (102705). CAM: This work was supported by the UK Medical Research Council (G0400284). DMM: This work was supported by UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC/K000306/1). NARG/JW: Wellcome Trust (086827, 075470,101873) and Wellcome Trust Strategic Award in Medical Mycology and Fungal Immunology (097377). ALL: This work was supported by the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology and the University of Aberdeen (MR/N006364/1).


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