Lab – in – a – Hankie
New tools for the diagnosis of Candida albicans
One of the prerequisites for effective combating of infections is the rapid identification of pathogens. In the overall project we finally aim at the development of novel diagnostic devices, which do not need complex laboratory instruments but can be combined with tissues, such as hankies or sanitary tissues, or textiles. To keep the tests easy, sample preparation, such as cell disruption and extraction should be avoided. Thus, detection of the pathogen will be based on the recognition of specific surface structures, such as proteins or polysaccharides. Recognition structures for these surface components will be immobilized on responsive polymers, thus allowing easy detection of pathogen binding. To address this topic fourteen research groups from academia and industry have joined together to a project called the “Lab in a Hankie" funded by the BMBF. In our part of the overall project we aim at investigations of diagnostic tools for the recognition of pathogenic fungi.
Candida albicans, one of the most important opportunistic human fungal pathogens, has a layered cell wall built up from polysaccharides, to which specific proteins are attached. We extracted and analysed those cell wall proteins and identified glucosyltransferases and proteins involved in iron uptake. Purified proteins are used to develop suitable recognition structures, which can be used for pathogen recognition. Investigations on the regulation of the presence of these proteins will show their relevance for the distinction of commensal and invasive strains.