Virulence mechanisms and Cryptococcus neoformans pathogenesis.
The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans is able to rapidly and effectively adapt to varying conditions, favoring its survival in the environment and in the infected host. Many microbial phenotypes have been specifically correlated with virulence in this opportunistic pathogen, such as capsule production, melanin formation, and the secretion of various proteins. Additionally, cellular features such as the cell wall and morphogenesis play important roles in the interaction of this fungus with host immune recognition and response pathways. Survival in the face of host stress also requires maintaining RNA/DNA integrity. Additionally, aging and senescence of the fungal cells determines resistance to host-derived stresses. New mechanisms regulating the expression of these virulence-associated phenotypes have been recently explored. Importantly, human clinical studies are now confirming the roles of specific microbial factors in human infections.
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