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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2002 Aug;5(4):379-85.

Resistance of human fungal pathogens to antifungal drugs.

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Institute of Microbiology, University Hospital Lausanne, CH-1011, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Resistance mechanisms can be engaged in clinically relevant fungal pathogens under different conditions when exposed to antifungal drugs. Over past years, active research was undertaken in the understanding of the molecular basis of antifungal drug resistance in these pathogens, and especially against the class of azole antifungals. The isolation of various alleles of the gene encoding the target of azoles has enabled correlation of the appearance of resistance with distinct mutations. Resistance mechanisms to azoles also converge to the upregulation of multidrug transporter genes, whose products have the capacity to extrude from cells several chemically unrelated antifungal agents and toxic compounds. Genome-wide studies of azole-resistant isolates are now permitting a more comprehensive analysis of the impact of resistance on gene expression, and may deliver new clues to their mechanisms. Several laboratories are also exploring, as well as possible alternative resistance pathways, the role of biofilm formation by several fungal species in the development of resistance to various antifungals, including azoles.

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