To (i) establish in vitro and ex vivo commensal and infection models for C. parapsilosis; (ii) to dissect the different stages of infection; (iii) to characterize the fungal and host transcriptional profiles during infection by RNAseq; (iv) to identify stage-specific marker genes of C. parapsilosis infection; (v) to identify and characterize genes that are required for pathogenicity of C. parapsilosis.
ESR5 will monitor the interaction of C. parapsilosis with vaginal and intestinal epithelial, endothelial cells and blood cells in collaboration with ESR6. RNA-seq will be used to determine the stage-specific transcriptional profile of the pathogen and the host. Data analysis will be carried out in collaboration with ESR2 (P1). Expression of selected (infection-associated and species specific) genes will be verified by qRT-PCR. Candidate marker genes will be developed into prototype diagnostic tools. Candidate genes will be disrupted and their roles in infection analysed. Moreover, to identify genes crucial for pathogenicity, mutant strains from a collection of >200 C. parapsilosis knockout strains (available at P3) will be monitored in the established infection models.