About this Research Topic
Fungal pathogens can either have severe impacts on the health of humans and animals, jeopardizing biodiversity, or pose a severe threat to our food supply and security by crop infection and post-harvest mycotoxin production.
The number of effective antifungal agents is highly limited since fungi share similarities in cell structure and metabolism with other eukaryotes. Consequently, the search for new antifungal drugs proves difficult and the pharmaceutical industry preferred to invest in more lucrative areas of anti-infectives in the past. These reasons sign responsible for a restricted number of compounds available on the market that target fungi-specific structures and metabolic pathways for the prevention and treatment of infections. Due to the lack of alternative fungicides and drugs, compounds of the same class are commercially used in agriculture and in the clinical treatment and veterinary. One of the consequences is the fast resistance development in fungal pathogens and the alarming loss of drug efficacy. Therefore, new antifungal compounds with low risk for toxicity and resistance development and mechanisms of action that differ from the existing ones are urgently needed.
Nature is an unlimited source for molecules with beneficial qualities to mankind. Gene encoded small proteins and peptides with antimicrobial activity were detected in many different organisms throughout all kingdoms and accomplish manyfold functions related to innate immunity in higher eukaryotes or providing ecological advantages to the prokaryotic and lower eukaryotic producers themselves that allow their optimal adaptation to different environments and guarantee survival and reproduction over those of nutrient competitors. Many of these bio-molecules were found to have antifungal potential acting either in a fungistatic or fungicidal way, thus representing promising antifungal drug candidates.
The Research Topic “Antifungal proteins and peptides: a tool from nature?” in the section “Fungi-Animal Interaction” of Frontiers in Fungal Biology is designed to foster the investigations and increase the visibility of the efforts being made in the scientific community to collect knowledge and new insights in this research area. The Research Topic addresses any issue related to antifungal proteins and peptides of natural origin or synthetic peptides which were designed and/or modified using gene-encoded proteins as templates.
We invite expert authors to contribute articles, reviews or short communications that cover any topic on the role of proteins and peptides for the producing organism itself (in case of gene-encoded products) - these can be animals (vertebrates and invertebrates) or different organisms (bacteria, fungi, plants) -, their structure and mode of action, production control, applicability in the clinics, veterinary and food industry, and relevance in the ecosystem and biodiversity, provided that all these aspects deal with their human- and animal-related antifungal potential.
Keywords: antifungal proteins and peptides, function in the host, structure, mode of action, biodiversity, application in medicine, veterinary, food preservation, mycotoxin reduction, pest-control
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.