Purpose of review: Colonization of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract with Candida albicans (CA), the most common human fungal pathogen, is the first step towards the development of invasive infection. Yet the fungal virulence factors and host factors that modulate CA GI colonization are still poorly understood. In this review, we will review emerging evidence of the importance of select CA genetic determinants and CA's interaction with the host that contribute to its successful adaptation as a pathobiont in the human GI tract.
Recent findings: Recent data reveal the importance of 1) CA genetic determinants; 2) host factors; and 3) environmental factors in modulating CA GI colonization in humans.
Summary: As evidence continues to grow supporting the notion that the GI tract and its resident microbiota are an integral part of the host immune system, it will be critical for studies to interrogate the interaction of CA with the host (including both the host innate and adaptive immune system as well as the endogenous gut microbiota) in order to dissect the mechanisms of CA pathogenesis and thus lay the foundation for novel therapeutic approaches to prevent and/or treat invasive fungal infections.
Keywords: Candida; bloodstream infection; colonization resistance; gut microbiota; pathobiont.