Navigation Links
Mounting a multi-layered attack on fungal infections

Unravelling a microbe's multilayer defence mechanisms could lead to effective new treatments for potentially lethal fungal infections in cancer patients and others whose natural immunity is weakened.

Although not as well known as bacterial infections, such as MRSA and E.coli, fungal infections such as that caused by the yeast Candida albicans can be more serious and lead to a higher death rate. Using mutant forms of the C. albicans yeast which lacked different parts of the yeast cell wall, Professor Neil Gow and his colleagues have uncovered a three-pronged mechanism by which the body's immune defences attack the invading fungus.

Presenting the work at the Society for General Microbiology's meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, today (8 September), Professor Gow explained that the yeast's cell wall consists of a skeleton-like structure made up of complex sugars called chitins and glucans, covered by an outer layer of proteins which are highly decorated with sugars. The white blood cells that form part of the human immune system have receptors on their surfaces which recognise specific parts of the yeast cell wall, enabling them to fasten on to the invading yeast cells, kill them and then break them down. However other components in the yeast cell wall were found that can damp down this immune response.

In addition, the immune system needs to attack the glucans in the yeast inner cell wall. In the early stages of infection when the white blood cells start to digest the outer cell wall of the yeast, the glucans become more exposed; the immune system is then able to mount a chemical attack on these molecules.

"We need to find out exactly what the body's immune systems detect and what receptors the defence cells have that recognise the yeast's cell wall components. However, fungi are clever enough to develop evasion strategies so we need to figure what these are too. If we can do this we may be able to stimulate the immune system to work more effectively in killing disease-causing fungi," said Professor Gow.

"In the longer term we may be able to treat patients with immunotherapy with agents that stimulate their immunity - as well as with anti-microbial drugs. In addition our work may also lead to new ways to detect fungal infections earlier. Too often the fungus has taken a hold and established itself so well that treatment becomes even more difficult".


Contact: Dianne Stilwell
Society for General Microbiology

Related biology news :

1. Mounting evidence shows health benefits of grape polyphenols
2. Mounting evidence shows red wine antioxidant kills cancer
3. Study finds women slightly more likely to die than men in the 30 days following a heart attack
4. Early detection and quick response are key to defense against anthrax attack
5. New drug may reduce heart attack damage
6. Heart attacks: The tipping point
7. Yale researchers uncover secrets of salmonellas stealth attack
8. Inhaling a heart attack: How air pollution can cause heart disease
9. Simple test helps predict heart attack risk
10. Shark attacks decline worldwide in midst of economic recession
11. International study identifies gene variants associated with early heart attack
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/8/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Oct. 8, 2015 ... leading developer of human interface solutions, announced today ... first quarter of fiscal 2016 on Thursday, October ... company will host a corresponding conference call for ... p.m. ET), during which management may discuss forward-looking ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce ... announces that revenues for the three months ended ... $113,00 for the three months ended June 30, ... 30, 2015 were approximately $520,000.      ...
(Date:10/7/2015)... Connecticut , October 7, 2015 ... authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce market ... Stanley E. Washington , former long- term executive ... of Directors. --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... growing mobile commerce market and creator of the Wocket® ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... cell surface marker detection market ... to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. This ... of oncology diseases and other cell-associated disorders. --> ... USD 6.49 billion by 2022, according to a new report ... be attributed to rise in incidence of oncology diseases and ...
(Date:10/12/2015)...  Patara Pharma, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing ... conditions, today announced the closing of a $26 ... the close of its sale of preferred stock, ... Agreement with Silicon Valley Bank whereby the Company ... use the funds from the financing to evaluate ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Belgium , Oct. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... that full results from a completed clinical study of its ... have been published in the online issue of Clinical ... The peer-reviewed study was conducted in collaboration with ... led by Roland Andersson , MD, PhD, Professor of ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... ... LifeTrak , a leader in consumer fitness, heart rate and activity ... tracker that seeks to meet the needs of multi-sport athletes. Zoom is the first ... both in water and on land, making it the only fitness tracker an athlete ...
Breaking Biology Technology: