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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 136130, 15 pages
Research Article

Essential Functional Modules for Pathogenic and Defensive Mechanisms in Candida albicans Infections

1Institute of Biomedical Informatics, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 11221, Taiwan
2Laboratory of Control and Systems Biology, Department of Electrical Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan
3Institute of Communications Engineering, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan
4Institute of Statistics, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan
5Department of Life Science and Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan
6Department of Medical Science and Institute of Bioinformatics and Structural Biology, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30013, Taiwan

Received 17 October 2013; Accepted 10 February 2014; Published 18 March 2014

Academic Editor: Shigehiko Kanaya

Copyright © 2014 Yu-Chao Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The clinical and biological significance of the study of fungal pathogen Candida albicans (C. albicans) has markedly increased. However, the explicit pathogenic and invasive mechanisms of such host-pathogen interactions have not yet been fully elucidated. Therefore, the essential functional modules involved in C. albicans-zebrafish interactions were investigated in this study. Adopting a systems biology approach, the early-stage and late-stage protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks for both C. albicans and zebrafish were constructed. By comparing PPI networks at the early and late stages of the infection process, several critical functional modules were identified in both pathogenic and defensive mechanisms. Functional modules in C. albicans, like those involved in hyphal morphogenesis, ion and small molecule transport, protein secretion, and shifts in carbon utilization, were seen to play important roles in pathogen invasion and damage caused to host cells. Moreover, the functional modules in zebrafish, such as those involved in immune response, apoptosis mechanisms, ion transport, protein secretion, and hemostasis-related processes, were found to be significant as defensive mechanisms during C. albicans infection. The essential functional modules thus determined could provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions during the infection process and thereby devise potential therapeutic strategies to treat C. albicans infection.