Special Issue "Fungal Pathogenesis in Humans: The Growing Threat"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Microbial Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Fernando Leal

Instituto de Biología Funcional y Genómica / Dpto. Microbiología y Genética Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)/Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain
Interests: fungal pathogenesis; Aspergillus molecular genetics; virology; miRNAs

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cancer survival rates and successful organ transplantation in patients continues to increase due to improvements in early diagnosis and treatments. Since immuno-suppressive therapies are frequently used, the mortality rate due to secondary infections has become an ever-increasing problem. Opportunistic fungal infections are probably the deadliest threat to these patients due to their difficult early diagnosis, the limited effect of antifungal drugs and the appearance of resistances. In recent years, a considerable effort has been devoted to investigating the role of many virulence traits in the pathogenic outcome of fungal infections. New virulence factors (hypoxia adaptation, CO2 sensing, pH regulation, micronutrient acquisition, secondary metabolites, immunity regulators, etc.) have been reported and their molecular mechanisms of action are being thoroughly investigated. The recent application of gene-editing technologies such as CRISPr-Cas9, has opened a whole new window to the discovery of new fungal virulence factors. Accurate fungal genotyping, Next Generation Sequencing and RNAseq approaches will undoubtedly provide new clues to interpret the plethora of molecular interactions controlling these complex systems. Unraveling their intimate regulatory details will provide insights for a more target-focused search or a rational design of more specific antifungal agents.

This Special Issue is open to researchers in any related field willing to contribute significant discoveries, proofs of concept of new theories or relevant observations in fungal pathogenesis and its regulation.

Dr. Fernando Leal
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Genes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Fungal virulence

  • Fungal genotyping

  • Biofilm formation

  • Immune evasion

  • CO2 sensing

  • pH regulation

  • Micronutrient acquisition

  • Trehalose biosynthesis

  • Secondary metabolites and toxins

  • Regulation of antifungals resistance

  • Criptococcus, Candida, Aspergillus, Scedosporium, Fusarium, Pneumocysits

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Genome-Wide Identification of circRNAs in Pathogenic Basidiomycetous Yeast Cryptococcus neoformans Suggests Conserved circRNA Host Genes over Kingdoms
Genes 2018, 9(3), 118; doi:10.3390/genes9030118
Received: 9 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 19 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
PDF Full-text (2169 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Circular RNAs (circRNAs), a novel class of ubiquitous and intriguing noncoding RNA, have been found in a number of eukaryotes but not yet basidiomycetes. In this study, we identified 73 circRNAs from 39.28 million filtered RNA reads from the basidiomycete Cryptococcus neoformans JEC21
[...] Read more.
Circular RNAs (circRNAs), a novel class of ubiquitous and intriguing noncoding RNA, have been found in a number of eukaryotes but not yet basidiomycetes. In this study, we identified 73 circRNAs from 39.28 million filtered RNA reads from the basidiomycete Cryptococcus neoformans JEC21 using next-generation sequencing (NGS) and the bioinformatics tool circular RNA identification (CIRI). Furthermore, mapping of newly found circRNAs to the genome showed that 73.97% of the circRNAs originated from exonic regions, whereas 20.55% were from intergenic regions and 5.48% were from intronic regions. Enrichment analysis of circRNA host genes was conducted based on the Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway databases. The results reveal that host genes are mainly responsible for primary metabolism and, interestingly, ribosomal protein production. Furthermore, we uncovered a high-level circRNA that was a transcript from the guanosine triphosphate (GTP)ase gene CNM01190 (gene ID: 3255052) in our yeast. Coincidentally, YPT5, CNM01190′s ortholog of the GTPase in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, protists, and humans, has already been proven to generate circRNAs. Additionally, overexpression of RNA debranching enzyme DBR1 had varied influence on the expression of circRNAs, indicating that multiple circRNA biosynthesis pathways exist in C. neoformans. Our study provides evidence for the existence of stable circRNAs in the opportunistic human pathogen C. neoformans and raises a question regarding their role related to pathogenesis in this yeast. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Pathogenesis in Humans: The Growing Threat)

Figure 1

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Tentative Title: Host-pathogen interactions mediated by MDR transporters in fungi: as pleiotropic as it gets!

Authors: Mafalda Cavalheiro1,2, Pedro Pais1,2, Mónica Galocha1,2, Miguel Cacho Teixeira1,2

Affiliations: 1Department of Bioengineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal; 2iBB – Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, Biological Sciences Research Group, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, Portugal

Tentative Abstract: Fungal infections caused by species of the Candida, Aspergillus and Cryptococcus genus are an increasing problem worldwide, associated to very high associated mortality rates. The successful prevalence of these human pathogens is due to their ability to thrive in stressful host niche colonization sites, to tolerate host immune system induced stress and to resist against antifungal drugs.

This review focuses on the key role played by multi-drug resistance (MDR) transporters, belonging to the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily and the major facilitator superfamily (MFS), in mediating fungal resistance to the referred pathogenesis-related stresses. This includes the traditional role attributed to fungal MDR transporters, the extrusion of antifungal drugs, with C. albicans CDR1 and MDR1 genes, and corresponding homologs in other fungal pathogens, playing a key role in this phenomenon. More recently, however, clues on the transcriptional regulation and physiological roles of MDR transporters, including the transport of lipids, ions and small metabolites, have emerged, linking these transporters to important pathogenesis features such as resistance to host niche environments, biofilm formation, immune system evasion and virulence.

The wider view of the activity of MDR transporters provided in this review highlights their relevance beyond drug resistance and the need to develop therapeutic strategies that successfully face the challenges posed by the pleiotropic nature of these transporters.

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