The colonization of Candida albicans in the gastrointestinal tract and the subsequent human host response
Candida albicans is a fungus that is part of the default microbiota of approximately 70% of the human population. It mainly inhabits the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and vagina. In most cases, this fungus does not cause harm in immunocompetent individuals. However, during immunosuppression or a general disruption of the bacterial microbiota, C. albicans can potentially become pathogenic by transitioning from a single-celled yeast to filamentous hyphae. The ability to transition between yeast and hyphal forms is a virulence property of C. albicans. This ability is thought to be a critical step in tissue invasion processes. While the science community has studied the path of C. albicans infections, the involved mechanisms, and the basic host response, there is a need for more studies into understanding the more minute details of the involved molecular changes in the gut epithelium, mucosal mast cells, and the specific responses the infections cause. This paper describes the mechanisms behind C. albicans infections in a human host and highlights the implications of these fungal interactions with the epithelial barrier and morphological transitions.