Microbe Profile: Cryptococcus neoformans species complex.
Cryptococcus neoformans is a lethal fungus disguised in a polysaccharide coat. It can remain dormant in the host for decades prior to reactivation, causing systemic cryptococcosis in humans and other mammals. Cryptococcus deploys a multitude of traits to adapt to and survive within the host, including immunosuppression, an ability to replicate intra- and extra-cellularly in phagocytes, changes in morphology and ploidy, a predilection to infect the CNS, and the capacity to utilize neurotransmitters and unique carbon sources available in the brain. These pathogenic strategies displayed by this fungus might have evolved through its interactions with microbial predators in the environment.
Bahn, Y-S; Sun, S; Heitman, J; Lin, X
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