Fungal infections take a huge toll on the humans, animals and plants that they infect. In humans, invasive fungal infections can number in the millions and have a high mortality rate (above 40%). Treatment of fungal infections usually involves the use of one of several classes of antifungal drugs, each with a unique mechanism of action. For each of these drug classes, there is always the risk of the development of resistance. The molecular mechanisms by which cells acquire antifungal resistance have been studied in Candida albicans, as well as several other pathogenic fungi. These mechanisms can include changes in a) the import of the drug, b) the interactions of the drug with the target enzyme, c) the export from the cell, or d) combinations of several of these mechanisms. Particular emphasis will be paid to drug import, a long-ignored aspect of the interaction between drug and fungus. Recently, the import of sterols, which overcome the effect of several antifungal drugs, has been shown to contribute to the fungal cells’ response to antifungal drugs. The future of antifungal drug development, and understanding drug resistance will be based on our current understanding of the interaction between drug and fungus.
Full conference title:
Society for General Microbiology Autumn Conference 2013
- SGM 2013