Nav: Home

UTHealth microbiologists discover possible new strategy to fight oral thrush

April 10, 2017

HOUSTON - (April 10, 2017) - An antimicrobial protein caused a dramatic reduction in the creamy white lesions associated with oral thrush in a preclinical study, report microbiologists with McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Oral thrush is a fungal infection of the mouth and throat that affects millions worldwide. Babies, seniors and people with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible.

"The long-term vision is to develop a new antifungal drug that takes a different approach to treating oral thrush," said Danielle Garsin, Ph.D., the study's co-principal investigator and an associate professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at McGovern Medical School.

Garsin and her collaborator, Michael Lorenz, Ph.D., tested the effectiveness of the antimicrobial protein (EntV) in a mouse model of oral thrush. "The animals who were treated with the protein had far fewer symptoms than the control animals," said Lorenz, a professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at McGovern Medical School.

Because this particular type of fungus - Candida albicans- can develop resistance to medications over time, there is always going to be a need for new antifungals, Lorenz said.

"While thrush is normally not a major problem for patients with normal immune systems, it can be particularly severe and difficult to treat in immunocompromised patients who have been exposed to multiple antifungals and can develop resistant strains of yeast," said Luis Ostrosky-Zeichner, M.D., director of the Laboratory of Mycology Research, professor of infectious diseases and vice-chair of medicine at McGovern Medical School.

"Furthermore, development of new antifungals is encouraging in the face of emerging multidrug-resistant yeasts like Candida auris," said Ostrosky, who is medical director of epidemiology for Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.

Traditional antifungals stop Candida albicans from growing, but do not kill it, which leads to the rise of drug resistance. In contrast, the EntV protein appears to block the ability of Candida to cause disease but does not affect its growth. "The thought is that a treatment that just blocks virulence reduces the incentive for the microbe to evolve drug resistance. That's one of several things that is different about our strategy," Lorenz said.

Post-graduate doctoral student Carrie Graham, M.S., the study's lead author, said EntV blocks the biofilm development that allows the fungus to grow in a complex community on the tongue and walls of the mouth and increases resistance to traditional antifungal drugs.

EntV is a protein made by Enterococcus faecalis, a bacterium found in the gastrointestinal tract.

"In an earlier test where we combined Candida albicans and Enterococcus faecalis, we thought they would make each other more virulent. Instead, they actually reduced the other's virulence," Garsin said.

Lorenz said the next step in the research will be to learn more about the molecular mechanisms by which EntV inactivates Candida. "We are also testing whether EntV will work against other types of fungal infections," he said.
-end-
The study titled "Enterococcus faecalis bacteriocin EntV inhibits hyphal morphogenesis, biofilm formation, and virulence of Candida albicans" was supported in part by by National Institutes of Health awards (R01AI075091, R01AI076406, R01AI110432 and F31AI1222725). McGovern Medical School senior research assistant Melissa Cruz, B.S., was a co-author.

Graham is a student at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, where Garsin and Lorenz serve on the faculty. Ostrosky, Lorenz and Garsin are members of the Center for Antimicrobial Resistance and Microbial Genomics (CARMiG) at UTHealth.

University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Related Drug Resistance Articles:

Fast test can monitor drug resistance in hookworms
More than 2 billion people around the world are infected with intestinal helminths, parasitic worms that can cause disease, complicate pregnancies, and stunt the growth of children.
Resistance to drug of last resort found in farm animals in US
Carbapenems are one of the most important classes of antibiotics used in humans, and are an important agent against multi-drug resistant bacteria.
A cinematic approach to drug resistance
In a creative stroke inspired by Hollywood wizardry, scientists from Harvard Medical School and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have designed a simple way to observe how bacteria move as they become impervious to drugs.
Salmonella protein reduces drug resistance in tumors
A surprising result in an experiment on Salmonella bacteria has led to a discovery that may make drug resistant cancer cells more treatable by conventional chemotherapies.
Deciphering the mutations behind drug resistance
Antimicrobial resistance in disease-causing microbes has garnered attention in recent years, but another persistent area of drug resistance is the ability for tumors to evade chemotherapy drugs.
Antimalarial resistance to drug not passed on to future generations
Parasites that develop resistance to the antimalarial drug atovaquone cannot pass this resistance on to offspring, a new study suggests, because their lifecycles are often disrupted by the drug's mechanism.
New hybrid drug plugs the hole in malaria drug resistance
The World Health Organization recommends treating malaria with artemisinin combination therapy (ACT), consisting of artemisinin and another drug.
A different route to drug resistance
A team of researchers, led by Ludwig Cancer Research scientist Paul Mischel and James Heath of the California Institute of Technology, has probed biochemical signaling cascades within individual cancer cells to capture a previously poorly understood but clinically significant mechanism of cancer drug resistance.
Mapping the routes to drug resistance in cancer
When a targeted therapy blocks a pathway that enables tumors to grow, the cells usually manage to get around that obstacle.
Resistance to key HIV drug 'concerningly common'
HIV drug resistance to tenofovir, an antiretroviral drug vital to most modern HIV treatment and prevention strategies, is surprisingly and worryingly common according to a large study led by UCL and funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Related Drug Resistance Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...