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FEMS Yeast Res. 2004 Oct;5(1):1-10.

Role of laccase in the biology and virulence of Cryptococcus neoformans.

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Section of Infectious Diseases, Chicago Medical Center, University of Illinois, 808 S. Wood St., Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Laccase is an important virulence factor for the human pathogen, Cryptococcus neoformans. In this review, we examine the structural, biological and genetic features of the enzyme and its role in the pathogenesis of cryptococcosis. Laccase is expressed in C. neoformans as a cell wall enzyme that possesses a broad spectrum of activity oxidizing both polyphenolic compounds and iron. Two paralogs, CNLAC1 and CNLAC2, are present in the fungus, of which the first one expresses the dominant enzyme activity under glucose starvation conditions. Regulation of the enzyme is in response to various environmental signals including nutrient starvation, the presence of multivalent cations and temperature stress, and is mediated through multiple signal transduction pathways. Study of the function and regulation of this important virulence factor has led to further understanding of mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis and the regulation of stress response in the host cell environment.

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