A genetic screen in Drosophila reveals the role of fucosylation in host susceptibility to Candida infection.
Glittenberg M., Kounatidis I., Atilano M., Ligoxygakis P.
Candida infections constitute a blind spot in global public health as very few new anti-fungal drugs are being developed. Genetic surveys of host susceptibilities to such infections using mammalian models have certain disadvantages in that obtaining results is time-consuming owing to relatively long lifespans and these results have low statistical resolution because sample sizes are usually small. Here we report a targeted genetic screening of 5698 RNAi lines encompassing 4135 Drosophila genes with human homologues, several of which we identify as important for host survival after Candida albicans infection. These include genes in a variety of functional classes encompassing gene expression, intracellular signalling, metabolism, and enzymatic regulation. Analysis of one of the screen hits, the infection-induced α-(1,3)-fucosylase FucTA, showed that N-glycan fucosylation has several targets among proteins involved in host defence supplying multiple avenues of investigation for the mechanistic analysis of host survival to systemic C. albicans infection.