Candida albicans colonization is required for invasive disease1, 2, 3. Unlike humans, adult mice with mature intact gut microbiota are resistant to C. albicans gastrointestinal (GI) colonization2, 4, but the factors that promote C. albicans colonization resistance are unknown. Here we demonstrate that commensal anaerobic bacteria—specifically clostridial Firmicutes (clusters IV and XIVa) and Bacteroidetes—are critical for maintaining C. albicans colonization resistance in mice. Using Bacteroides thetaiotamicron as a model organism, we find that hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), a transcription factor important for activating innate immune effectors, and the antimicrobial peptide LL-37 (CRAMP in mice) are key determinants of C. albicans colonization resistance. Although antibiotic treatment enables C. albicans colonization, pharmacologic activation of colonic Hif1a induces CRAMP expression and results in a significant reduction of C. albicans GI colonization and a 50% decrease in mortality from invasive disease. In the setting of antibiotics, Hif1a and Camp (which encodes CRAMP) are required for B. thetaiotamicron–induced protection against C. albicans colonization of the gut. Thus, modulating C. albicans GI colonization by activation of gut mucosal immune effectors may represent a novel therapeutic approach for preventing invasive fungal disease in humans.
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- Supplementary Text and Figures (10,730 KB)
Supplementary Figures 1–10 & Supplementary Tables 1–4