The echinocandin class of antifungals (caspofungin, micafungin, and anidulafungin) are the first completely novel approved class of antifungals in years. They have unique antifungal properties as they display fungicidal activity against Candida species, yet fungistatic activity against Aspergillus species. Against Aspergillus species, the echinocandins selectively inhibit the growing hyphal tip as shown through cellular staining. The class of agents may have a role in combination antifungal therapy against invasive aspergillosis, whereby the cell wall mechanism could be paired with cell membrane inhibition to exert synergistic effects. The echinocandins also stand as a powerful laboratory tool where the cell wall can be pharmacologically inhibited more easily to mimic genetic inhibition and therefore allow further characterization. Our laboratory has also explored additional methodologies of cell wall activity by inhibiting the calcineurin pathway, both pharmacologically as well as genetically. Inhibition of calcineurin yields effects on hyphal elongation, akin to the echinocandin activity on hyphal tips, and the combination of calcineurin inhibition and echinocandin use shows additive effects with real clinical implications.
Full conference title:
The First International Fungal / Plant Cell Wall Meeting
- International Fungal / Plant Cell Wall Meeting 1st