Epithelial cells treated with genistein inhibit adhesion and endocytosis of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis
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Paracoccidioidomycosis is caused by Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, which although not formally considered an intracellular pathogen, can be internalized by epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo. The mechanisms used by P. brasiliensis to adhere to and invade non-professional phagocytes have not been identified. The signal-transduction networks, involving protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) and protein phosphatase activities, can modulate crucial events during fungal infections. In this study, the involvement of PTK has been investigated in P. brasiliensis adherence and invasion in mammalian epithelial cells. A significant inhibition of the fungal invasion occurred after the pre-treatment of the epithelial cells with genistein, a specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor, indicating that the tyrosine kinase pathway is involved in P. brasiliensis internalization. In contrast, when the fungus was treated, a slight (not significant) inhibition of PTK was observed, suggesting that PTK might not be the fungus' transduction signal pathway during the invasion process of epithelial cells. An intense PTK immunofluorescence labeling was observed in the periphery of the P. brasiliensis infected cells, little PTK labeling was found in both uninfected cells and yeast cells, at later infection times (8 and 24 h). Moreover, when the epithelial cells were treated with genistein and infected with P. brasiliensis, no labeling was observed, suggesting the importance of the PTK in the infectious process. These results suggest that PTK pathway participates in the transduction signal during the initial events of the adhesion and invasion processes of P. brasiliensis to mammalian epithelial cells.