Chapter 2 : Overview of the Fungal Pathogens

MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.

Ebook: Choose a downloadable PDF or ePub file. Chapter is a downloadable PDF file. File must be downloaded within 48 hours of purchase

Buy this Chapter
Digital (?) $15.00

Preview this chapter:
Zoom in

Overview of the Fungal Pathogens, Page 1 of 2

| /docserver/preview/fulltext/10.1128/9781555817978/9781555812140_Chap02-1.gif /docserver/preview/fulltext/10.1128/9781555817978/9781555812140_Chap02-2.gif


This chapter provides basic knowledge of fungal biology that is necessary for proper comprehension of the intimate mechanisms and strategies that fungi have adopted in causing infections and diseases. Fungal morphogenesis, dimorphism, and phenotypic switching are now beginning to be explored at the molecular and genetic levels. Unlike mammalian cells, fungi possess a multilayered rigid cell wall immediately exterior to the plasmalemma. The major polysaccharides of the cell wall matrix consist of glucans, made up of β-1,6-linked D-glucose residues with β-1,3-linked branches at frequent intervals; mannan, an a-1,6-linked polymer of D-mannose with a-1,2 and a-1,3 branches; chitosans (polymers of glucosamine); and galactans (polymers of galactose). The chapter focuses on various fungal diseases. Adherence to host tissues is considered the pivotal first step in the pathogenesis of fungal infections. Fungi secrete a variety of enzymes, such as proteases, elastases, and phospholipases, which are considered to be major virulence factors. Subversion of host phagocyte receptors by fungal pathogens represents a most successful strategy to escape elimination by the host immune system. Progress toward understanding the epidemiology and pathogenesis of fungal infections has been slow, as has the progress in the area of diagnosis and treatment. There is a need for additional strategies of prevention and treatment of fungal infections. This demands the continuation of studies aimed at the molecular typing of fungi, fungal virulence genes, and host-specific immune reactivity that limit fungal infectivity.

Citation: Romani L. 2002. Overview of the Fungal Pathogens, p 25-38. In Kaufmann S, Sher A, Ahmed R (ed), Immunology of Infectious Diseases. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817978.ch2

Key Concept Ranking

Effector Th Cells
Fungal Proteins
Fungal Pathogenesis
Fungal Infections
Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis
Highlighted Text: Show | Hide
Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Image of Figure 1
Figure 1

The different yeast and hyphal morphologies.

Citation: Romani L. 2002. Overview of the Fungal Pathogens, p 25-38. In Kaufmann S, Sher A, Ahmed R (ed), Immunology of Infectious Diseases. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817978.ch2
Permissions and Reprints Request Permissions
Download as Powerpoint


1. Banuett, F. 1998. Signalling in the yeasts: an informational cascade with links to the filamentous fungi. Microbiol. Mol. Biol. Rev. 62:249274.
2. Brandhorst, T. T.,, M. Wuthrich,, T. Warner,, and B. Klein. 1999. Targeted gene disruption reveals an adhesin indispensable for pathogenicity of Blastomyces dermatitidis. J. Exp. Med. 189: 12071216.
3. Brown, A. J. P.,, and N. A. R. Gow. 1999. Regulatory networks controlling Candida albicans morphogenesis. Trends Microbiol. 7:333338.
4. Calderone, R. A. 1994. Molecular pathogenesis of fungal infections. Trends Microbiol. 2:461463.
5. Calderone, R. A.,, and W. A. Fonzi. 2001. Virulence factors of Candida albicans. Trends Microbiol. 9:327335.
6. Cole, G. T.,, and H. C. Hoch.(ed.). 1991. The Fungal Spore and Disease Initiation in Plants and Animals. Plenum Press, New York, N.Y.
7. Colonna-Romano, S.,, A. Porta,, A. Franco,, G. S. Kobayashi,, and B. Maresca. 1998. Identification and isolation by DDRT-PCR of genes differentially expressed by Histoplasma capsulatum during macrophage infection. Microb. Pathog. 25:5566.
8. De Bernardis, F.,, F. A. Mühlschlegel,, A. Cassone,, and W. A. Fonzi. 1998. The pH of the host niche controls gene expression in and virulence of Candida albicans. Infect. Immun. 66:33173325.
9. Edman, J. C.,, J. A. Kovacs,, H. Masur,, D. V. Santi,, H. J. Elwood,, and M. L. Sogin. 1988. Ribosomal RNA sequence shows Pneumocystis carinii to be a member of the fungi. Nature 334:519522.
10. Fè d’Ostiani, C.,, G. del Sero,, A. Bacci,, C. Montagnoli,, P. Ricciardi-Castagnoli,, A. Spreca,, and L. Romani. 2000. Dendritic cells discriminate between yeasts and hyphae of the fungus Candida albicans: implications for initiation of Th immunity in vivo and in vitro. J. Exp. Med. 191:16611673.
11. Fridkin, S. K.,, and W. R. Jarvis. 1996. Epidemiology of nosocomial fungal infections. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 9:499511.
12. Gale, C. A.,, C. M. Bendel,, M. McClellan,, M. Hauser,, J. M. Becker,, J. Berman,, and M. K. Hostetter. 1998. Linkage of adhesion, filamentous growth, and virulence in Candida albicans to a single gene, INT1. Science 279:13551358.
13. Ghannnoum, M. A. 2000. Potential role of phospholipases in virulence and fungal pathogenesis. Clin Microbiol. Rev. 13:122143.
14. Goldman, D. L.,, B. C. Fries,, S. P. Franzot,, L. Montella,, and A. Casadevall. 1998. Phenotypic switching in the human pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans is associated with changes in virulence and pulmonary inflammatory response in rodents. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 8:1496714972.
15. Guarro, J.,, J. Gené,, and A. M. Stchigel. 1999. Developments in fungal taxonomy. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 12:454500.
16. Hamilton, A. J.,, and M. D. Holden. 1999. Antioxidant systems in the pathogenic fungi of man and their role in virulence. Med. Mycol. 37:375389.
17. Hernandez-Hernandez, F.,, R. Lopez-Martinez,, I. Camacho- Arroyo,, and C. A. Mendoza-Rodriguez 1998-1999. Detection and expression of corticosteroid binding protein gene in human pathogenic fungi. Mycopathologia 143:127130.
18. Hogan, L. H.,, B. S. Klein,, and S. M. Levitz. 1996. Virulence factors of medically important fungi. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 9:469488.
19. Hostetter, M. K. 1996. An integrin-like protein in Candida albicans: implications for pathogenesis. Trends Microbiol. 4:242245.
20. Hostetter, M. K. 1999. Integrin-like proteins in Candida spp. and other microorganisms. Fungal Genet. Biol. 28:135145.
21. Howard, D. H. 1999. Acquisition, transport and storage of iron by pathogenic fungi. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 12:394404.
22. Hube, B. 1996. Candida albicans secreted aspartyl proteinases. Curr. Top. Med. Mycol. 7:5569.
23. Klein, B. S.,, and S. L. Newman. 1996. Role of cell-surface molecules of Blastomyces dermatitidis in host-pathogen interaction. Trends Microbiol. 4:246251.
24. Kobayashi, S. D.,, and J. E. Cutler. 1998. Candida albicans hyphal formation and virulence: is there a clearly defined role? Trends Microbiol. 6:9294.
25. Kopp, E. B.,, and R. Medzhitov. 1999. The Toll-receptor family and control of innate immunity. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 11:1318.
26. Kozel, T. R. 1996. Activation of the complement system by pathogenic fungi. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 9:3446.
27. Kurokawa, C. S.,, M. F. Sugizaki,, and M. T. S. Peraçoli. 1998. Virulence factors in fungi of systemic mycoses. Rev. Inst. Med. Trop. Sao Paulo 40:125135.
28. Kwon-Chung, K. J. 1998. Gene disruption to evaluate the role of fungal candidate virulence genes. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 1:381389.
29. Kwon-Chung, K. J.,, and J. E. Bennett. 1992. Medical Mycology. Lea & Febiger, Philadelphia, Pa.
30. Latgè, J.-P. 1999. Aspergillus fumigatus and aspergillosis. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 12:310350.
31. Lo, H.-J.,, J. R. Kohler,, B. DiDomenico,, D. Loebenberg,, A. Cacciapuoti,, and G. R. Fink. 1997. Nonfilamentous C. albicans mutants are avirulent. Cell 90:939949.
32. Loose, D. S.,, E. P. Stover,, A. Restrepo,, D. A. Stevens,, and D. Feldman. 1983. Estradiol binds to a receptor-like cytosol binding protein and initiates a biological response in Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 80:76597663.
33. Mandell, G. L.,, R. G. Douglas,, and J. E. Bennett,. 2000. Mycoses, p. 26552795. In G. L. Mandell,, J. E. Bennett,, and R. Dolin (ed.), Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 5th ed. Churchill Livingstone, Inc., Philadelphia, Pa.
34. Maresca, B.,, L. Carratu,, and G. S. Kobayashi. 1994. Morphological transition in the human fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum. Trends Microbiol. 2:110114.
35. Marth, T.,, and B. L. Kelsall. 1997. Regulation of interleukin-12 by complement receptor 3 signalling. J. Exp. Med. 185:19871995.
36. Matthews, R. C.,, B. Maresca,, J. P. Burnie,, A. Cardona,, L. Carratu,, S. Conti,, G. S. Deepe,, A. M. Florez,, S. Franceschelli,, E. Garcia,, L. S. Gragano,, G. S. Kobayashi,, J. G. McEwen,, B. L. Ortiz,, A. M. Oviedo,, L. Polonelli,, L. Ponton,, A. Restrepo,, and A. Storlazzi. 1998. Stress proteins in fungal infections. Med. Mycol. 36(Suppl. 1):4551.
37. McKnight, A.,, and S. Gordon. 2000. Forum in Immunology: innate recognition systems. Microbes Infect. 2:239336.
38. Medoff, G.,, A. Painter,, and G. S. Kobayashi. 1987. Mycelial- to yeast-phase transitions of the dimorphic fungi Blastomyces dermatitidis and Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. J. Bacteriol. 169:40554060.
39. Mitchell, A. P. 1998. Dimorphism and virulence in Candida albicans. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 1:687692.
40. Moors, M. A.,, T. L. Stull,, K. J. Blank,, H. R. Buckley,, and D. M. Moser. 1992. A role for complement-like molecules in iron acquisition by Candida albicans. J. Exp. Med. 175:16431651.
41. Mosser, D. M.,, and C. L. Karp. 1999. Receptor mediated subversion of macrophage cytokine production by intracellular pathogens. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 11:406411.
42. Murphy, J. W.,, F. Bistoni,, G. S. DeepeJr.,, R. A. Blackstock,, K. Buchanan,, R. B. Ashman,, L. Romani,, A. Mencacci,, E. Cenci,, C. Fe` d’Ostiani,, G. Del Sero,, V. L. Calich,, and S. S. Kashino. 1998. Type 1 and type 2 cytokines: from basic science to fungal infections. Med. Mycol. 36:109118.
43. Murphy, J. W.,, H. Friedman,, and M. Bendinelli (ed.). 1993. Fungal Infections and Immune Responses. Plenum Press, New York, N.Y.
44. Odds, F. C. 1988. Candida and Candidosis. 2nd ed. Baillière-Tindall, London, United Kingdom.
45. Odds, F. C.,, T. Arai,, A. F. Disalvo,, E. G. Evans,, R. J. Hay,, H. S. Randhawa,, M. G. Rinaldi,, and T. J. Walsh. 1992. Nomenclature of fungal diseases: a report and recommendations from a Sub-Committee of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM). J. Med. Vet. Mycol. 30:110.
46. Pahl, H. L.,, B. Krauβ,, K. Schulze-Osthoff,, T. Decker,, E. B. Traenckner,, M. Vogt,, C. Myers,, T. Parks,, P. Warring,, A. Mühlbacher,, A. Czernilofsky,, and P. A. Baeuerle. 1996. The immunosuppressive fungal metabolite gliotoxin specifically inhibits transcription factor NF-κB. J. Exp. Med. 183:18291840.
47. Puccetti, P.,, L. Romani,, and F. Bistoni. 1995. A TH1-TH2-like switch in candidiasis: new perspectives for therapy. Trends Microbiol. 3:237240.
48. Ramana, N.,, and Y. Wang. 2000. A high-affinity iron permease essential for Candida albicans virulence. Science 288:10621064.
49. Rodrigues, M. L.,, C. S. Alviano,, and L. R. Travassos. 1999. Pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans: virulence factors and immunological mechanisms. Microbes Infect. 1:293301.
50. Romani, L. 1997. The T cell response to fungal infections. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 9:484490.
51. Romani, L. 1999. Immunity to Candida albicans: Th1, Th2 and beyond. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 2:363367.
52. Romani, L., 2001. Innate immunity against fungal pathogens, p. 401432. In R. Chilar, and R. Calderone (ed.), Fungal Pathogenesis: Principles and Clinical Applications. Marcel-Dekker, Inc., New York, N.Y.
53. Romani, L.,, and D. H. Howard. 1995. Mechanisms of resistance to fungal infections. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 7:517523.
54. Romani, L.,, P. Puccetti,, and F. Bistoni. 1997. Interleukin-12 in infectious diseases. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 10:611636.
55. Schaller, M.,, H. C. Korting,, W. Schafer,, J. Bastert,, W. Chen,, and B. Hube. 1999. Secreted aspartic proteinase (Sap) activity contributes to tissue damage in a model of human oral candidosis. Mol. Microbiol. 34:169180.
56. Slutsky, B.,, J. Buffo,, and D. R. Soll. 1985. High-frequency switching of colony morphology in Candida albicans. Science 230:666669.
57. Staab, J. F.,, S. D. Bradway,, P. L. Fidel,, and P. Sundstrom. 1999. Adhesive and mammalian transglutaminase substrate properties of Candida albicans Hwp1. 283:15351538
58. Staib, P.,, M. Kretschmar,, T. Nichterlein,, H. Hof,, and J. Morschhauser. 2000. Differential activation of a Candida albicans virulence gene family during infection. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97:61026107.
59. Staib, P.,, M. Kretschmar,, T. Nichterlein,, G. Kohler,, S. Michel,, H. Hof,, J. Hacker,, and J. Morschhauser. 1999. Host-induced, stage-specific virulence gene activation in Candida albicans during infection. Mol. Microbiol. 32:533546.
60. Stevens, D. A.,, T. J. Walsh,, F. Bistoni,, E. Cenci,, K. V. Clemons,, G. Del Sero,, C. Fe` d’Ostiani,, B. J. Kulberg,, A. Mencacci,, and L. Romani. 1998. Cytokines and mycoses. Med. Mycol. 36:174182.
61. Sundstrom, P. 1999. Adhesins in Candida albicans. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 2:353357.
62. Sutton, D. A.,, A. W. Fothergill,, and M. G. Rinaldi. 1998. Guide to Clinically Significant Fungi. Williams & Wilkins Co., Baltimore, Md.
63. Tsai, H. F.,, Y. C. Chang,, R. G. Washburn,, M. H. Wheeler,, and K. J. Kwon-Chang. 1998. The developmentally regulated alb1 gene of Aspergillus fumigatus: its role in modulation of conidial morphology and virulence. J. Bacteriol. 180:30313038.
64. Vanden Bossche, H.,, F. C. Odds,, and D. Kerridge (ed). 1993. Dimorphic Fungi in Biology and Medicine. Plenum Press, New York, N.Y.
65. Vartivarian, S. E. 1992. Virulence properties and nonimmune pathogenic mechanisms of fungi. Clin. Infect. Dis. 14:S30S36.
66. Wang, P.,, and J. Heitman. 1999. Signal transduction cascades regulating mating, filamentation, and virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 2:358362.
67. Wang, Y.,, S. P. Li,, S. A. Moser,, K. L. Bost,, and J. E. Domer. 1998. Cytokine involvement in immunomodulatory activity affected by Candida albicans mannan. Infect. Immun. 66:13841391.
68. Weitzman, I.,, and R. C. Summerbell. 1995. The dermatophytes. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 8:240259.
69. Whittaker, R. H. 1969. New concepts of kingdoms of organisms. Science 163:150160.


Generic image for table
Table 1

Taxonomy of medically important fungi

Citation: Romani L. 2002. Overview of the Fungal Pathogens, p 25-38. In Kaufmann S, Sher A, Ahmed R (ed), Immunology of Infectious Diseases. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817978.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 2

Classification of fungal infections

Citation: Romani L. 2002. Overview of the Fungal Pathogens, p 25-38. In Kaufmann S, Sher A, Ahmed R (ed), Immunology of Infectious Diseases. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817978.ch2
Generic image for table
Table 3

Fungal virulence and evasion mechanisms from host immune defenses

Citation: Romani L. 2002. Overview of the Fungal Pathogens, p 25-38. In Kaufmann S, Sher A, Ahmed R (ed), Immunology of Infectious Diseases. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817978.ch2

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Please check the format of the address you have entered.
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error