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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2008 Dec;11(6):511-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2008.09.018. Epub 2008 Nov 3.

Fungal adaptation to the mammalian host: it is a new world, after all.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, University of Wisconsin Medical School, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, WI 53706, United States.


Adaptation to environmental conditions is key to fungal survival during infection of human hosts. Although the host immune system is often considered the primary obstacle to fungal colonization, invading fungi must also contend with extreme abiotic stresses. Recent work with human pathogenic fungi has uncovered systems for detecting and responding to changes in temperature, carbon source, metal ion availability, pH, and gas tension. These systems play a major role in adaptation to the host niche and are essential factors for persistence in a mammalian host. Future investigations into fungal responses to these and other abiotic components of the host environment have the potential to uncover novel targets for anti-fungal therapy.

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