Exploring the mechanisms of action of human secretory RNase 3 and RNase 7 against Candida albicans

Vivian A. Salazar, Javier Arranz-Trullén, Susanna Navarro, Jose A. Blanco, Daniel Sánchez, Mohammed Moussaoui, Ester Boix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Human antimicrobial RNases, which belong to the vertebrate RNase A superfamily and are secreted upon infection, display a wide spectrum of antipathogen activities. In this work, we examined the antifungal activity of the eosinophil RNase 3 and the skin-derived RNase 7, two proteins expressed by innate cell types that are directly involved in the host defense against fungal infection. Candida albicans has been selected as a suitable working model for testing RNase activities toward a eukaryotic pathogen. We explored the distinct levels of action of both RNases on yeast by combining cell viability and membrane model assays together with protein labeling and confocal microscopy. Site-directed mutagenesis was applied to ablate either the protein active site or the key anchoring region for cell binding. This is the first integrated study that highlights the RNases’ dual mechanism of action. Along with an overall membrane-destabilization process, the RNases could internalize and target cellular RNA. The data support the contribution of the enzymatic activity for the antipathogen action of both antimicrobial proteins, which can be envisaged as suitable templates for the development of novel antifungal drugs. We suggest that both human RNases work as multitasking antimicrobial proteins that provide a first line immune barrier.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-845
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Cytotoxicity
  • host–pathogen interactions
  • infectious diseases
  • innate immunity


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