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Med Mycol. 2000 Dec;38(6):407-17.

Immunoregulation by capsular components of Cryptococcus neoformans.

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Dept of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Perugia, Italy.


Cryptococcus neoformans is an encapsulated yeast that is pathogenic for humans. The capsule is a major virulence factor composed mainly of glucuronoxylomannan (GXM) and two minor constituents, galactoxylomannan, and mannoprotein (MP). A hallmark of disseminated cryptococcosis is the presence of high concentrations of GXM in body fluids of infected hosts. GXM provides a critical negative signal for T cell activation and neutrophil migration at the site of the inflammatory process. There is also strong evidence that MP promotes critical events associated with protective responses such as delayed type hypersensitivity and presumably a T helper type 1 response. The contrasting roles of GXM and MP in regulation of the immune response to C. neoformans offer a promising template for a successful approach to intervention, by scavenging GXM to attenuate its negative signals, while preserving the positive effects of MP.

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