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Clin Microbiol Rev. 1997 Jul;10(3):369-400.

Yeast killer systems.

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  • 1Istituto di Microbiologia, Facolt√† di Medicina e Chirurgia, Universit√† degli Studi di Parma, Italy.


The killer phenomenon in yeasts has been revealed to be a multicentric model for molecular biologists, virologists, phytopathologists, epidemiologists, industrial and medical microbiologists, mycologists, and pharmacologists. The surprisingly widespread occurrence of the killer phenomenon among taxonomically unrelated microorganisms, including prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogens, has engendered a new interest in its biological significance as well as its theoretical and practical applications. The search for therapeutic opportunities by using yeast killer systems has conceptually opened new avenues for the prevention and control of life-threatening fungal diseases through the idiotypic network that is apparently exploited by the immune system in the course of natural infections. In this review, the biology, ecology, epidemiology, therapeutics, serology, and idiotypy of yeast killer systems are discussed.

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