Candida albicans is a frequent etiologic agent of sepsis associated with high mortality in immunocompromised patients. Developing new antifungal therapies is a medical need due to the low efficiency and resistance to current antifungal drugs. Here, we show that p38J and p38G regulate the innate immune response to C. albicans. We describe a new TAK1-TPL2-MKK1-ERK1/2 pathway in macrophages, which is activated by Dectin-1 engagement and positively regulated by p38J/p38G. In mice, p38J/p38G deficiency protects against C. albicans infection by increasing ROS and iNOS production and thus the antifungal capacity of neutrophils and macrophages, and by decreasing the hyper-inflammation that leads to severe host damage. Leucocyte recruitment to infected kidneys and production of inflammatory mediators are decreased in p38J/G null mice, reducing septic shock. p38J/p38G in myeloid cells are critical for this effect. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of p38J/p38G in mice reduces fungal burden, revealing that these p38MAPKs may be therapeutic targets for treating C. albicans infection in humans.
- Candida albicans
- Kinase inhibitor