Deadly infections from opportunistic fungi have risen in frequency, largely because of the at-risk immunocompromised population created by advances in modern medicine and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This review focuses on dynamics of the fungal polysaccharide cell wall, which plays an outsized role in fungal pathogenesis and therapy because it acts as both an environmental barrier and as the major interface with the host immune system. Human fungal pathogens use architectural strategies to mask epitopes from the host and prevent immune surveillance, and recent work elucidates how biotic and abiotic stresses present during infection can either block or enhance masking. The signaling components implicated in regulating fungal immune recognition can teach us how cell wall dynamics are controlled, and represent potential targets for interventions designed to boost or dampen immunity.
Bibliographical noteThe authors wish to acknowledge the many other recent studies on cell wall dynamics and immune response that we did not have space to adequately include. The work was supported by funding from the following sources: Burroughs Wellcome Fund (RTW). AJPB was funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BB/K017365/1), the UK Medical Research Council (MR/M026663/1); the Wellcome Trust (097377) and by the MRC Centre for Medical Mycology and the University of Aberdeen (MR/M026663/1).
- Journal Article
- cell wall
- innate immunity