Candida albicans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that has the capability to switch from commensal to pathogen in immunocompromised individuals. Recognition of pathogens, like C. albicans, during infection is poorly characterized primarily due to the difficulties in visualizing the host/pathogen interaction without killing the host. Transparent animal hosts, such as Danio rerio (zebrafish), enable imaging of pathogen recognition while maintaining host viability. For pathogen recognition, zebrafish likely use immune receptors similar to mammalian receptors including C-type lectin receptors. Human C-type lectin receptors have already been shown to be crucial in recognition of fungal pathogens like C. albicans, and our goal is to identify and characterize cognate receptors crucial for fungal recognition in zebrafish. Here, I show how I purified fusion proteins of recently identified receptors and began characterizing the binding of these receptors to Candida albicans. Determining the specificity of these receptors may enhance our understanding of fungal recognition in the zebrafish host and the evolution of vertebrate immune receptor specificity. In addition, receptors that bind to C. albicans could be used as a diagnostic for C. albicans infection in patients.
Theriault, Monique Elaine, "Innate Immune Recognition of Candida Albicans in Zebrafish" (2016). Honors College. 420.