About this Research Topic
This Research Topic focuses on the dynamics of the fungal cell wall (CW) and its role during host-fungal interaction. This structure provides mechanical strength to fungal cells, protecting the fungus from hostile surroundings and osmotic challenges, whilst at the same time, allowing the fungus to communicate with its environment. From a pathogenic angle, the CW is the first fungal component to contact the host system, thus playing a crucial role during infection. Considering potential therapeutic strategies, disruption of the CW causes osmotic imbalance leading to fungal-death, and for this reason the cell wall is being explored as a potential target in developing anti-fungal strategies.
The fungal CW is a dynamic structure. It is chemically complex, with different polysaccharides and proteins present, although the constituents differ according to fungal species and their growth morphotypes. Chemical methods and glycobiology techniques are in use to study the compositional of the CW, as well as the linkage patterns among different components. However, recent studies followed biophysical methods such as solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance and infrared spectroscopy for CW composition analysis. These latter methods have reported the existence of new polymers and linkages among different CW components that were unidentified using chemical methods, as these biophysical techniques are non-destructive compared to destructive method followed during chemical analysis.
To develop an anti-fungal strategy, it is not only necessary to understand the CW composition, but also to identify the essential events in the construction of the cell wall. However, this can be challenging. Membrane-anchored components involved in CW construction are difficult to study as they exist as high molecular weight complexes. There is also a lack of information on substrate and cofactors required for many of the CW components. Moreover, for many of the CW components, localization of their synthetic machineries is only predictive. The recent development of in situ models to study CW biosynthesis and remodelling are proving promising and require further exploration.
Mounting a controlled immune response against fungal infection depends on fungal recognition by the host immune system. Yet there remains a lack of information on how fungal CW components interact with the host immune system and how they are recognized. Studies that do exist were performed under experimental conditions, and neglect to reflect what exists in a natural setting.
This Research Topic will provide a platform for current research that better informs the role of the CW in anti-fungal strategies. In particular we invite the submissions of articles that focus on the following:
1. CW biosynthesis and remodelling: in situ models, machineries, localization, substrates/cofactors required and their regulation.
2. CW localized potent anti-fungal targets: essential events in cell wall construction, chemical libraries and their screening targeting the fungal cell wall.
3. CW components as PAMPs: receptors involved in the recognition of the fungal cell wall components, immune signalling pathways and immune responses.
4. CW in immune evasion or hiding: mechanisms involved in hiding or evasion.
5. CW components as vaccine candidates.
Keywords: Fungal Cell Wall, Biosynthesis, Remodeling, Host-Fungal Interaction, Antifungals
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