Candida cell-surface-specific monoclonal antibodies protect mice against Candida auris invasive infection.
Candida auris is a multidrug-resistant fungal pathogen that can cause disseminated bloodstream infections with up to 60% mortality in susceptible populations. Of the three major classes of antifungal drugs, most C. auris isolates show high resistance to azoles and polyenes, with some clinical isolates showing resistance to all three drug classes. We reported in this study a novel approach to treating C. auris disseminated infections through passive transfer of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting cell surface antigens with high homology in medically important Candida species. Using an established A/J mouse model of disseminated infection that mimics human candidiasis, we showed that C3.1, a mAb that targets β-1,2-mannotriose (β-Man3), significantly extended survival and reduced fungal burdens in target organs, compared to control mice. We also demonstrated that two peptide-specific mAbs, 6H1 and 9F2, which target hyphal wall protein 1 (Hwp1) and phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (Pgk1), respectively, also provided significantly enhanced survival and reduction of fungal burdens. Finally, we showed that passive transfer of a 6H1+9F2 cocktail induced significantly enhanced protection, compared to treatment with either mAb individually. Our data demonstrate the utility of β-Man3- and peptide-specific mAbs as an effective alternative to antifungals against medically important Candida species including multidrug-resistant C. auris.