Effect of phenotypic switching on biofilm traits in Candida tropicalis.Microb Pathog. 2020 Jun 17; 149:104346.MP
Candida tropicalis can undergo multiple forms of phenotypic switching. We have reported a switching system in C. tropicalis that is associated with changes in virulence attributes. We aimed to assess biofilm formation by distinct switch states of C. tropicalis and evaluate whether their sessile cells exhibit altered virulence traits. C. tropicalis strains included the parental phenotype (a clinical isolate) and four switch phenotypes (crepe, rough, revertant of crepe and revertant of rough). Biofilm formation and adhesion capability of sessile cells on polystyrene were assessed through quantification of total biomass. Filamentous forms were characterized by direct counting of sessile cells. A virulence assay was conducted using the Galleria mellonella infection model. Switch variants (crepe and rough) and their revertant counterparts produced higher biofilm biomass (P < 0.05) than the parental strain. Additionally, filamentous forms were enriched among sessile cells of switched strains compared to those observed for sessile cells of the parental strain, with the exception of the revertant of rough. Sessile cells of switched strains showed higher adhesion to polystyrene compared to the parental strain. Sessile cells of the crepe variant and its revertant strain (RC) exhibited higher virulence against G. mellonella larvae than sessile cells of the parental strain. Our findings indicate that switching events in C. tropicalis affect biofilm development and that sessile cells of distinct switch states may exhibit increased adhesion ability and enhanced virulence towards G. mellonella larvae.