Limosilactobacillus fermentum Limits Candida glabrata Growth by Ergosterol Depletion

Isabella Zangl, Reinhard Beyer, Arianna Gattesco, Roman Labuda, Ildiko Julia Pap, Joseph Strauss, Christoph Schüller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Journal article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Candida glabrata is a human-associated opportunistic fungal pathogen. It shares its niche with Lactobacillus spp. in the gastrointestinal and vaginal tract. In fact, Lactobacillus species are thought to competitively prevent Candida overgrowth. We investigated the molecular aspects of this antifungal effect by analyzing the interaction of C. glabrata strains with Limosilactobacillus fermentum. From a collection of clinical C. glabrata isolates, we identified strains with different sensitivities to L. fermentum in coculture. We analyzed the variation of their expression pattern to isolate the specific response to L. fermentum. C. glabrata-L. fermentum coculture induced genes associated with ergosterol biosynthesis, weak acid stress, and drug/chemical stress. L. fermentum coculture depleted C. glabrata ergosterol. The reduction of ergosterol was dependent on the Lactobacillus species, even in coculture with different Candida species. We found a similar ergosterol-depleting effect with other lactobacillus strains (Lactobacillus crispatus and Lactobacillus rhamosus) on Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, and Candida krusei. The addition of ergosterol improved C. glabrata growth in the coculture. Blocking ergosterol synthesis with fluconazole increased the susceptibility against L. fermentum, which was again mitigated by the addition of ergosterol. In accordance, a C. glabrata Δerg11 mutant, defective in ergosterol biosynthesis, was highly sensitive to L. fermentum. In conclusion, our analysis indicates an unexpected direct function of ergosterol for C. glabrata proliferation in coculture with L. fermentum.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Candida glabrata
  • candidiasis
  • ergosterol
  • Lactobacillus
  • microbial communities
  • probiotics
  • stress response
  • transcriptional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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