A curcumin-sophorolipid nanocomplex inhibits Candida albicans filamentation and biofilm development.

Affiliation

Rajasekar V(1), Darne P(2), Prabhune A(2), Kao RYT(3), Solomon AP(4), Ramage G(5), Samaranayake L(6), Neelakantan P(7).
Author information:
(1)Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Quorum Sensing Laboratory, Centre of Research in Infectious Diseases, School of Chemical and Biotechnology, SASTRA Deemed to Be University, Thanjavur, India.
(2)Green Pyramid Biotech Private Limited, Pune, India.
(3)Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
(4)Quorum Sensing Laboratory, Centre of Research in Infectious Diseases, School of Chemical and Biotechnology, SASTRA Deemed to Be University, Thanjavur, India.
(5)Oral Sciences Research Group, Glasgow Dental School, School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.
(6)Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
(7)Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Candida albicans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that is highly resistant to contemporary antifungals, due to their biofilm lifestyle. The ability of C. albicans to invade human tissues is due to its filamentation. Therefore, inhibition of biofilms and filamentation of the yeast are high value targets to develop the next-generation antifungals. Curcumin (CU) is a natural polyphenol with excellent pharmacological attributes, but limitations such as poor solubility, acid, and enzyme tolerance have impeded its practical utility. Sophorolipids (SL) are biologically-derived surfactants that serve as efficient carriers of hydrophobic molecules such as curcumin into biofilms. Here, we synthesised a curcumin-sophorolipid nanocomplex (CUSL), and comprehensively evaluated its effects on C. albicans biofilms and filamentation. Our results demonstrated that sub-inhibitory concentration of CUSL (9.37 μg/mL) significantly inhibited fungal adhesion to substrates, and subsequent biofilm development, maturation, and filamentation. This effect was associated with significant downregulation of a select group of biofilm, adhesins, and hyphal regulatory genes. In conclusion, the curcumin-sophorolipid nanocomplex is a potent inhibitor of the two major virulence attributes of C. albicans, biofilm formation and filamentation, thus highlighting its promise as a putative anti-fungal agent with biofilm penetrative potential.