Nature communications. 2023-09-22; 14.1: 5918.

Genotypic diversity and unrecognized antifungal resistance among populations of Candida glabrata from positive blood cultures

Badrane H, Cheng S, Dupont CL, Hao B, Driscoll E, Morder K, Liu G, Newbrough A, Fleres G, Kaul D, Espinoza JL, Clancy CJ, Nguyen MH

PMID: 37739935


The longstanding model is that most bloodstream infections (BSIs) are caused by a single organism. We perform whole genome sequencing of five-to-ten strains from blood culture (BC) bottles in each of ten patients with Candida glabrata BSI. We demonstrate that BCs contain mixed populations of clonal but genetically diverse strains. Genetically distinct strains from two patients exhibit phenotypes that are potentially important during BSIs, including differences in susceptibility to antifungal agents and phagocytosis. In both patients, the clinical microbiology lab recovered a fluconazole-susceptible index strain, but we identify mixed fluconazole-susceptible and -resistant populations. Diversity in drug susceptibility is likely clinically relevant, as fluconazole-resistant strains were subsequently recovered by the clinical laboratory during persistent or relapsing infections. In one patient, unrecognized respiration-deficient small colony variants are fluconazole-resistant and significantly attenuated for virulence during murine candidiasis. Our data suggest a population-based model of C. glabrata genotypic and phenotypic diversity during BSIs.