ENGLISH ABSTRACT
JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
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[Virulence factors of Candida albicans].

Candida albicans is the most common etiological factor of opportunistic human fungal infections. In this review, we focus on the major virulence factors that mediate the pathogenesis of C. albicans. Among these virulence factors, secreted aspartyl proteases, adherence, pleomorphism are the most important features of C. albicans infections. Ability to exist as different pleomorphic forms is defined as pleomorphism. A number of quorum sensing (QS) molecules have been described which affect morphogenesis process in C. albicans. Furthermore, the morphological transition of C. albicans in response to changing environmental conditions represent a means by which the strain adapts to different biological niches. Furthermore, every morphotype has own virulence profile and each pleomorphic form provide critical functions required for pathogenesis. Candida albicans is a producer of extracellular hydrolytic enzymes. Among them lipases, phospholipases and secreted aspartyl proteinases (Sap) are most significant in virulence. Sap proteins contribute to pathogenesis by digestion of host cell membranes and molecules of the host immune system to avoid antimicrobial attack by the host. One of the key features in the development of candidiasis is adhesion ofC. albicans to buccal and vaginal epithelial cells. The adhesion to host cells represents the first step in the internalization process which involves adhesins. Knowledge of the role of the various C. albicans' virulence factors during in vivo infections is still incomplete, therefore further studies including quantification of genes expression and histopathological examination of tissues damage are required to fully understand pathogenesis of this opportunistic pathogen.

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