The fungus Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen that can exploit imbalances in microbiome composition to invade its human host, causing pathologies ranging from vaginal candidiasis to fungal sepsis. Bacteria of the genus Lactobacillus are colonizers of human mucosa and can produce compounds with bioactivity against C. albicans. Here, we show that some Lactobacillus species produce a small molecule under laboratory conditions that blocks the C. albicans yeast-to-filament transition, an important virulence trait. It remains unexplored whether the compound is produced in the context of the human host. Bioassay-guided fractionation of Lactobacillus-conditioned medium linked this activity to 1-acetyl-β-carboline (1-ABC). We use genetic approaches to show that filamentation inhibition by 1-ABC requires Yak1, a DYRK1-family kinase. Additional biochemical characterization of structurally related 1-ethoxycarbonyl-β-carboline confirms that it inhibits Yak1 and blocks C. albicans biofilm formation. Thus, our findings reveal Lactobacillus-produced 1-ABC can prevent the yeast-to-filament transition in C. albicans through inhibition of Yak1.
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MacAlpine, Jessie; Daniel-Ivad, Martin; Liu, Zhongle; Yano, Junko; Revie, Nicole M.; Todd, Robert T.; Stogios, Peter J.; Sanchez, Hiram; O’Meara, Teresa R.; Tompkins, Thomas A.; Savchenko, Alexei; Selmecki, Anna; Veri, Amanda O.; Andes, David R.; Fidel, Paul L.; Robbins, Nicole; Nodwell, Justin; Whitesell, Luke; and Cowen, Leah E., "A Small Molecule Produced by Lactobacillus Species Blocks Candida Albicans Filamentation by Inhibiting a DYRK1-Family Kinase" (2021). School of Dentistry Faculty Publications. 14.