Iron at the Centre of Candida albicans Interactions

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2018 Jun 5:8:185. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2018.00185. eCollection 2018.


Iron is an absolute requirement for both the host and most pathogens alike and is needed for normal cellular growth. The acquisition of iron by biological systems is regulated to circumvent toxicity of iron overload, as well as the growth deficits imposed by iron deficiency. In addition, hosts, such as humans, need to limit the availability of iron to pathogens. However, opportunistic pathogens such as Candida albicans are able to adapt to extremes of iron availability, such as the iron replete environment of the gastrointestinal tract and iron deficiency during systemic infection. C. albicans has developed a complex and effective regulatory circuit for iron acquisition and storage to circumvent iron limitation within the human host. As C. albicans can form complex interactions with both commensal and pathogenic co-inhabitants, it can be speculated that iron may play an important role in these interactions. In this review, we highlight host iron regulation as well as regulation of iron homeostasis in C. albicans. In addition, the review argues for the need for further research into the role of iron in polymicrobial interactions. Lastly, the role of iron in treatment of C. albicans infection is discussed.

Keywords: Candida albicans; host; interaction; iron; polymicrobial; regulation; treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Candida albicans / metabolism*
  • Candida albicans / pathogenicity
  • Candidiasis
  • Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Homeostasis
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Microbial Interactions / physiology*
  • Symbiosis
  • Virulence


  • Iron