Philipp Reuter     email
Research Center for Infectious Diseases

Dr. J. Christian Pérez (Würzburg)
Promotion Committee:
Dr. J. Christian Pérez (Würzburg)
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Hube (Jena)
Prof. Dr. Joachim Morschhäuser (Würzburg)

Mechanisms of host colonisation by the fungus Candida albicans

The yeast Candida albicans is a normal resident in the oral cavity and in the intestine of most healthy humans. On occasion the fungus overgrows in the oral cavity causing oropharyngeal candidiasis (OPC). OPC is a hallmark condition of AIDS patients but also occur in apparently healthy individuals and particularly infants. The biological processes that enable Candida albicans to colonize the human body are regulated by a repertoire of transcription regulators.
Preliminary work of the Pérez lab revealed the transcription regulator ZCF8 as a major determinant of colonization and infection in oral cavity and intestine. Interestingly, ZCF8 plays divergent roles in the intestine and in oral mucosa: While in the former it promotes colonization, in the latter it seems to reduce fitness. My goal is to understand how the C. albicans regulatory gene ZCF8 influences the fitness of the fungus during colonization of the intestine and infection of the oral mucosa.
Therefore, I will try to identify direct and indirect regulation targets, evaluate the role of ZCF8 in adherence and morphology and the mechanisms of activation of Zcf8p when C. albicans interacts with oral vs. intestinal epithelial cells.