To Sense or Die: Mechanisms of Temperature Sensing in Fungal Pathogens

Michelle D. Leach, Leah E. Cowen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Temperature is a ubiquitous environmental variable that can profoundly influence the physiology of living cells as it changes over time and space. All organisms have devised sophisticated mechanisms to sense and respond to changing temperature. Complex mammals, elegant worms, or pathogens struggling for survival in their host, each have systems allowing them to persist and thrive in the face of thermal fluctuation. The ability to grow at 37 °C is essential for virulence in a mammalian host, with further increases in temperature in the form of fever being a prevalent response to pathogen invasion. An understanding of how pathogens sense temperature is imperative for appreciating mechanisms of virulence. This review will dissect the mechanisms fungal pathogens use to sense temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-191
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Fungal Infection Reports
Issue number2
Early online date23 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

MDL is supported by a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship (Wellcome Trust 096072), and LEC is supported by a Canada Research Chair in Microbial Genomics and Infectious Disease, by a Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award, by Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant # 355965, and by Canadian Institutes of Health Research Grants MOP-86452 and MOP-119520.


  • Candida albicans
  • Fatty acids
  • Fungal pathogenicity
  • Heat shock
  • RNA thermometers
  • Thermal adaptation
  • Unfolded proteins


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