• Open Access

The role of the cell wall in fungal pathogenesis


*E-mail jesuspla@farm.ucm.es; Tel. (+34) 91 3941617; Fax (+34) 91 3941745.


Fungal infections are a serious health problem. In recent years, basic research is focusing on the identification of fungal virulence factors as promising targets for the development of novel antifungals. The wall, as the most external cellular component, plays a crucial role in the interaction with host cells mediating processes such as adhesion or phagocytosis that are essential during infection. Specific components of the cell wall (called PAMPs) interact with specific receptors in the immune cell (called PRRs), triggering responses whose molecular mechanisms are being elucidated. We review here the main structural carbohydrate components of the fungal wall (glucan, mannan and chitin), how their biogenesis takes place in fungi and the specific receptors that they interact with. Different model fungal pathogens are chosen to illustrate the functional consequences of this interaction. Finally, the identification of the key components will have important consequences in the future and will allow better approaches to treat fungal infections.