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A C. elegans-based, whole animal, in vivo screen for the identification of antifungal compounds


Traditional antimicrobial screens focus on compounds that block the growth of microbial organisms. A new Caenorhabditis elegans-based bioassay can be used for the identification of antifungal compounds that are effective against Candida albicans. According to the protocol, adult nematodes are infected with C. albicans and moved to 96-well plates containing the tested compounds. In the presence of compounds with no antifungal activity, the fungus kills the worms and develops filaments that penetrate through the cuticle. In contrast to traditional screening methods and mammalian models, this facile, time-efficient and less costly assay allows the study of Candida cells in nonplanktonic form and may allow the concurrent evaluation of toxicity and antifungal activity and identify compounds that target virulence factors or modify host immune response. The screening assay takes about 5–6 d depending on the experimental design.

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Figure 1: Anticipated results; chemicals with no antifungal effect.
Figure 2: Anticipated results; chemicals with antifungal effect.

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Support was provided by NIH R01 award AI075286 (E.M.). We are grateful to Melanie de Silva of Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, for technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Eleftherios Mylonakis.

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Tampakakis, E., Okoli, I. & Mylonakis, E. A C. elegans-based, whole animal, in vivo screen for the identification of antifungal compounds. Nat Protoc 3, 1925–1931 (2008).

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