Candida Parapsilosis Characterization in an Outbreak Setting

Emerg Infect Dis. 2004 Jun;10(6):1074-81. doi: 10.3201/eid1006.030873.


Candida parapsilosis is an important non-albicans species which infects hospitalized patients. No studies have correlated outbreak infections of C. parapsilosis with multiple virulence factors. We used DNA fingerprinting to determine genetic variability among isolates from a C. parapsilosis outbreak and from our clinical database. We compared phenotypic markers of pathogenesis, including adherence, biofilm formation, and protein secretion (secretory aspartic protease [SAP] and phospholipase). Adherence was measured as colony counts on silicone elastomer disks immersed in agar. Biofilms formed on disks were quantified by dry weight. SAP expression was measured by hydrolysis of bovine albumin; a colorimetric assay was used to quantitate phospholipase. DNA fingerprinting indicated that the outbreak isolates were clonal and genetically distinct from our database. Biofilm expression by the outbreak clone was greater than that of sporadic isolates (p < or =0.0005). Adherence and protein secretion did not correlate with strain pathogenicity. These results suggest that biofilm production plays a role in C. parapsilosis outbreaks.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Candida / enzymology
  • Candida / genetics
  • Candida / growth & development*
  • Candidiasis / epidemiology
  • Candidiasis / microbiology*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA, Fungal / chemistry
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Humans
  • Mississippi / epidemiology
  • Phospholipases / metabolism
  • Phylogeny


  • DNA, Fungal
  • Phospholipases
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases