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Future Microbiol. 2009 Jun;4(5):583-95. doi: 10.2217/fmb.09.29.

Aspergillus fumigatus: cell wall polysaccharides, their biosynthesis and organization.

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Unite des Aspergillus, Institut Pasteur, 25-28 rue du Docteur Roux, 75724, Paris, cedex 15, France.


Aspergillus fumigatus is the most prevalent thermophilic inhabitants of decaying vegetation and one of the most important human opportunistic fungal pathogens. Like other fungi, A. fumigatus cells are covered by a cell wall, which is both a protective, rigid exoskeleton and a dynamic structure, undergoing constant modification depending on its environment. The cell wall, in the majority of fungi, is composed of polysaccharides, and understanding the biochemical organization and biogenesis of an A. fumigatus cell wall is essential as this envelop is continuously in contact with the environment/host cell and acts as a sieve and reservoir for molecules, such as enzymes and toxins that play an active role during infection. This article is intended to give an overview of the biosynthesis of constituent cell wall polysaccharides and their postsynthetic modification in A. fumigatus, it also discusses the antifungal drugs that affect cell wall polysaccharide biosynthesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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