Candida albicans is present as a benign commensal infection in more than 50% of the population but, in conditions of immune suppression, it can become a dangerous systemic infection with an estimated mortality rate of ∼30%. Despite its ubiquity, little is known about how host and pathogen interact during Candida infection. In two linked papers, the Ligoxygakis lab shows that the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is an appropriate model system both to rapidly assess virulence of Candida strains and to study systemic host responses. The tractability of Drosophila compared with mice makes it an attractive model to screen for host and pathogen factors involved in Candida infection, and for the development and testing of antifungal drugs.

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