Cryptococcus neoformans: the yeast that likes it hot.
The ability of fungi to grow well at mammalian body temperatures is a fundamental characteristic of invasive human fungal pathogens. Cryptococcus neoformans, with its genetics, molecular biology, robust animal models and clinical importance, has become a premier fungal model system for molecular fungal pathogenesis studies. There has been over a half century of study into how C. neoformans grows at high temperatures. However, recently the understanding of high-temperature growth at a molecular level has dramatically accelerated. Many strategies have been used to identify genes and over a dozen genes have already been identified to be necessary for high-temperature growth. It is likely that there are many more to discover. It is clear that, as further studies understand how this encapsulated yeast is able to withstand the stresses of high temperature at a genetic and molecular basis, we will also know more about how it and other fungal pathogens have evolved into well-established human pathogens.
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