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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2004 Jul 1;41(3):187-96.

Antibody response to Candida albicans cell wall antigens.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, The University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio, USA.


The cell wall of Candida albicans is not only the structure where many essential biological functions reside but is also a significant source of candidal antigens. The major cell wall components that elicit a response from the host immune system are proteins and glycoproteins, the latter being predominantly mannoproteins. Both carbohydrate and protein moieties are able to trigger immune responses. Proteins and glycoproteins exposed at the most external layers of the wall structure are involved in several types of interactions of fungal cells with the exocellular environment. Thus, coating of fungal cells with host antibodies has the potential to profoundly influence the host-parasite interaction by affecting antibody-mediated functions such as opsonin-enhanced phagocytosis and blocking the binding activity of fungal adhesins to host ligands. In this review we examine various members of the protein and glycoprotein fraction of the C. albicans cell wall that elicit an antibody response in vivo. Some of the studies demonstrate that certain cell wall antigens and anti-cell wall antibodies may be the basis for developing specific and sensitive serologic tests for the diagnosis of candidiasis, particularly the disseminated form. In addition, recent studies have focused on the potential of antibodies against the cell wall protein determinants in protecting the host against infection. Hence, a better understanding of the humoral response triggered by the cell wall antigens of C. albicans may provide the basis for the development of (i) effective procedures for the serodiagnosis of disseminated candidiasis, and (ii) novel prophylactic (vaccination) and therapeutic strategies to control this type of infections.

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