Functional genomics identifies type i interferon pathway as central for host defense against Candida albicans

Sanne P. Smeekens, Aylwin Ng, Vinod Kumar, Melissa D. Johnson, Theo S. Plantinga, Cleo Van Diemen, Peer Arts, Eugène T.P. Verwiel, Mark S. Gresnigt, Karin Fransen, Suzanne Van Sommeren, Marije Oosting, Shih Chin Cheng, Leo A.B. Joosten, Alexander Hoischen, Bart Jan Kullberg, William K. Scott, John R. Perfect, Jos W.M. Van Der Meer, Cisca WijmengaMihai G. Netea, Ramnik J. Xavier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Candida albicans is the most common human fungal pathogen causing mucosal and systemic infections. However, human antifungal immunity remains poorly defined. Here by integrating transcriptional analysis and functional genomics, we identified Candida-specific host defence mechanisms in humans. Candida induced significant expression of genes from the type I interferon pathway in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. This unexpectedly prominent role of type I interferon pathway in anti-Candida host defence was supported by additional evidence. Polymorphisms in type I interferon genes modulated Candida-induced cytokine production and were correlated with susceptibility to systemic candidiasis. In in vitro experiments, type I interferons skewed Candida-induced inflammation from a Th17 response towards a Th1 response. Patients with chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis displayed defective expression of genes in the type I interferon pathway. These findings indicate that the type I interferon pathway is a main signature of Candida-induced inflammation and has a crucial role in anti-Candida host defence in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1342
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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