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FEMS Yeast Res. 2004 Sep;4(8):765-71.

Cryptococcus neoformans capsule biosynthesis and regulation.

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Unité de Mycologie Moléculaire, Institut Pasteur, 25 rue du Dr. Roux, F-75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.


The capsule is certainly the most prominent virulence factor in Cryptococcus neoformans: acapsular strains are avirulent, and capsular polysaccharides have a deleterious effect on the immune system. Until very recently, very few genes involved in capsule biosynthesis had been identified - and this despite the existence of a detailed body of work concerning the capsule's composition, structure and their regulation by environmental factors. The tremendous development of experimental tools and techniques suited to the study of C. neoformans biology together with the sequencing of three complete genomes have, over the last three years, enabled the identification of a number of proteins which participate directly in biosynthesis of the capsule or which regulate its size. Even though this knowledge is still preliminary, it gives us a clearer picture of the various events needed for biosynthesis of this fascinating structure.

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