Dectin-1 is an essential innate immune receptor that recognizes β-glucans in fungal cell walls. Its importance is underscored by the mechanisms that fungal pathogens have evolved to avoid detection by this receptor. One such pathogen is Histoplasma capsulatum, and in a recent article in mBio, Rappleye's group presented data showing that yeasts of this organism secrete a β-glucanase, Eng1, which acts to prune β-glucans that are exposed on the fungal cell surface [A. L. Garfoot et al., mBio 7(2):e01388-15, 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01388-15]. The trimming of these sugars reduces immune recognition through Dectin-1 and subsequent inflammatory responses, enhancing the pathogenesis of H. capsulatum.
G.D.B. thanks the Wellcome Trust and MRC (United Kingdom) for