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.

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
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: 249 274.
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: 1207 1216.
3. Brown, A. J. P.,, and N. A. R. Gow. 1999. Regulatory networks controlling Candida albicans morphogenesis. Trends Microbiol. 7: 333 338.
4. Calderone, R. A. 1994. Molecular pathogenesis of fungal infections. Trends Microbiol. 2: 461 463.
5. Calderone, R. A.,, and W. A. Fonzi. 2001. Virulence factors of Candida albicans. Trends Microbiol. 9: 327 335.
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: 55 66.
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: 3317 3325.
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: 519 522.
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: 1661 1673.
11. Fridkin, S. K.,, and W. R. Jarvis. 1996. Epidemiology of nosocomial fungal infections. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 9: 499 511.
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: 1355 1358.
13. Ghannnoum, M. A. 2000. Potential role of phospholipases in virulence and fungal pathogenesis. Clin Microbiol. Rev. 13: 122 143.
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: 14967 14972.
15. Guarro, J.,, J. Gené,, and A. M. Stchigel. 1999. Developments in fungal taxonomy. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 12: 454 500.
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: 375 389.
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: 127 130.
18. Hogan, L. H.,, B. S. Klein,, and S. M. Levitz. 1996. Virulence factors of medically important fungi. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 9: 469 488.
19. Hostetter, M. K. 1996. An integrin-like protein in Candida albicans: implications for pathogenesis. Trends Microbiol. 4: 242 245.
20. Hostetter, M. K. 1999. Integrin-like proteins in Candida spp. and other microorganisms. Fungal Genet. Biol. 28: 135 145.
21. Howard, D. H. 1999. Acquisition, transport and storage of iron by pathogenic fungi. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 12: 394 404.
22. Hube, B. 1996. Candida albicans secreted aspartyl proteinases. Curr. Top. Med. Mycol. 7: 55 69.
23. Klein, B. S.,, and S. L. Newman. 1996. Role of cell-surface molecules of Blastomyces dermatitidis in host-pathogen interaction. Trends Microbiol. 4: 246 251.
24. Kobayashi, S. D.,, and J. E. Cutler. 1998. Candida albicans hyphal formation and virulence: is there a clearly defined role? Trends Microbiol. 6: 92 94.
25. Kopp, E. B.,, and R. Medzhitov. 1999. The Toll-receptor family and control of innate immunity. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 11: 13 18.
26. Kozel, T. R. 1996. Activation of the complement system by pathogenic fungi. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 9: 34 46.
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: 125 135.
28. Kwon-Chung, K. J. 1998. Gene disruption to evaluate the role of fungal candidate virulence genes. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 1: 381 389.
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: 310 350.
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: 939 949.
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: 7659 7663.
33. Mandell, G. L.,, R. G. Douglas,, and J. E. Bennett,. 2000. Mycoses, p. 2655 2795. 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: 110 114.
35. Marth, T.,, and B. L. Kelsall. 1997. Regulation of interleukin-12 by complement receptor 3 signalling. J. Exp. Med. 185: 1987 1995.
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): 45 51.
37. McKnight, A.,, and S. Gordon. 2000. Forum in Immunology: innate recognition systems. Microbes Infect. 2: 239 336.
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: 4055 4060.
39. Mitchell, A. P. 1998. Dimorphism and virulence in Candida albicans. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 1: 687 692.
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: 1643 1651.
41. Mosser, D. M.,, and C. L. Karp. 1999. Receptor mediated subversion of macrophage cytokine production by intracellular pathogens. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 11: 406 411.
42. Murphy, J. W.,, F. Bistoni,, G. S. Deepe Jr.,, 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: 109 118.
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: 1 10.
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: 1829 1840.
47. Puccetti, P.,, L. Romani,, and F. Bistoni. 1995. A T H1-T H2-like switch in candidiasis: new perspectives for therapy. Trends Microbiol. 3: 237 240.
48. Ramana, N.,, and Y. Wang. 2000. A high-affinity iron permease essential for Candida albicans virulence. Science 288: 1062 1064.
49. Rodrigues, M. L.,, C. S. Alviano,, and L. R. Travassos. 1999. Pathogenicity of Cryptococcus neoformans: virulence factors and immunological mechanisms. Microbes Infect. 1: 293 301.
50. Romani, L. 1997. The T cell response to fungal infections. Curr. Opin. Immunol. 9: 484 490.
51. Romani, L. 1999. Immunity to Candida albicans: Th1, Th2 and beyond. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 2: 363 367.
52. Romani, L., 2001. Innate immunity against fungal pathogens, p. 401 432. 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: 517 523.
54. Romani, L.,, P. Puccetti,, and F. Bistoni. 1997. Interleukin-12 in infectious diseases. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 10: 611 636.
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: 169 180.
56. Slutsky, B.,, J. Buffo,, and D. R. Soll. 1985. High-frequency switching of colony morphology in Candida albicans. Science 230: 666 669.
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: 1535 1538
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: 6102 6107.
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: 533 546.
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: 174 182.
61. Sundstrom, P. 1999. Adhesins in Candida albicans. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 2: 353 357.
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: 3031 3038.
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: S30 S36.
66. Wang, P.,, and J. Heitman. 1999. Signal transduction cascades regulating mating, filamentation, and virulence in Cryptococcus neoformans. Curr. Opin. Microbiol. 2: 358 362.
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: 1384 1391.
68. Weitzman, I.,, and R. C. Summerbell. 1995. The dermatophytes. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 8: 240 259.
69. Whittaker, R. H. 1969. New concepts of kingdoms of organisms. Science 163: 150 160.


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