Phenotype switching affects biofilm formation by Candida parapsilosis

Microbiology (Reading). 2005 Apr;151(Pt 4):1073-1081. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.27739-0.


Generation of biofilms by the pathogenic yeast Candida parapsilosis is correlated closely with disease. The phenomenon of phenotype switching in 20 isolates of C. parapsilosis was examined and the relationship with biofilm development was investigated. Four stable and heritable phenotypes were identified--crepe, concentric, smooth and crater. Cells from crepe and concentric phenotypes are almost entirely pseudohyphal, whilst cells from smooth and crater phenotypes are mostly yeast-like. The pseudohyphae from concentric phenotypes are approximately 45 % wider than those from crepe cells. The cell size of the smooth phenotype is smaller than those of the other three phenotypes. On polystyrene surfaces, the concentric phenotype generates up to twofold more biofilm than the crepe and crater phenotypes. Smooth phenotypes generate the least biofilm. Concentric phenotypes also invade agar surfaces more than the crepe and crater phenotypes, whilst smooth phenotypes do not invade at all. The smooth phenotype, however, grows significantly faster than the others. The quorum-sensing molecule farnesol inhibits formation of biofilms by the crepe, concentric and crater phenotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Candida / drug effects
  • Candida / isolation & purification
  • Candida / pathogenicity
  • Candida / physiology*
  • Farnesol / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • Virulence


  • Farnesol