We tested the in vitro susceptibility of Candida albicans to three defensins from human neutrophilic granulocytes (HNP-1, 2, and 3), a homologous defensin from rabbit leukocytes (NP-1), and four unrelated cationic peptides. Although the primary amino acid sequences of HNP-1, 2, and 3 are identical except for a single amino-terminal amino acid alteration, HNP-1 and HNP-2 killed C. albicans but HNP-3 did not. C. albicans blastoconidia were protected from HNP-1 when incubations were performed in the absence of oxygen or in the presence of inhibitors that blocked both of its mitochondrial respiratory pathways. Neither anaerobiosis nor mitochondrial inhibitors substantially protected C. albicans exposed to NP-1, poly-L-arginine, poly-L-lysine, or mellitin. Human neutrophilic granulocyte defensin-mediated candidacidal activity was inhibited by both Mg2+ and Ca2+, and was unaffected by Fe2+. In contrast, Fe2+ inhibited the candidacidal activity of NP-1 and all of the model cationic peptides, whereas Mg2+ inhibited none of them. These data demonstrate that susceptibility of C. albicans to human defensins depends both on the ionic environment and on the metabolic state of the target cell. The latter finding suggests that leukocyte-mediated microbicidal mechanisms may manifest oxygen dependence for reasons unrelated to the production of reactive oxygen intermediates by the leukocyte.
R I Lehrer, T Ganz, D Szklarek, M E Selsted
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.