Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology
Cell Wall; Fungi; Mycoses
The emergence of fungal infections as major causes of morbidity and mortality in immunosuppressed individuals has prompted studies into how the host recognizes fungal pathogens. Fungi are eukaryotes and as such share many similarities with mammalian cells. The most striking difference, though, is the presence of a cell wall that serves to protect the fungus from environmental stresses, particularly osmotic changes . This task is made challenging because the fungus must remodel itself to allow for cell growth and division, including the conversion to different morphotypes, such as occurs during germination of spherical spores into filamentous hyphae. The cell wall also connects the fungus with its environment by triggering intracellular signaling pathways and mediating adhesion to other cells and extracellular matrices. Here, important facts and concepts critical for understanding innate sensing of the fungal cell wall by mammalian pathogens are reviewed.
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Citation: Levitz SM (2010) Innate Recognition of Fungal Cell Walls. PLoS Pathog 6(4): e1000758. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000758
Copyright: c2010 Stuart M. Levitz. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.