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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2006 May;12(5):404-9.

Role of the dual interaction of fungal pathogens with pattern recognition receptors in the activation and modulation of host defence.

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Department of Medicine, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, and Nijmegen University Center for Infectious Diseases, Geert Grooteplein 8, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


Recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) of microorganisms by pathogen recognition receptors induces signals responsible for the activation of genes important for an effective host defence, especially those of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and lectin-like receptors are the most important classes of pattern-recognition receptors. In addition to their effects on the activation of host defence, recent studies suggest that pathogenic fungi can modulate or interfere with the pattern recognition mechanisms of innate immunity, and can use pattern recognition receptors as mechanisms of escape from host defence. Two major recognition receptor-mediated escape mechanisms have been identified during infection with fungal pathogens: immunosuppression induced by activation of certain pattern recognition receptors, especially induction of IL-10 release through TLR2; and the blockade of TLR recognition by antigen modification during the germination of yeasts into hyphae. Thus, signals mediated by recognition receptors are not only beneficial to the host, but in certain situations can be used by pathogenic fungi to escape immune recognition and promote infection.

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