The cell wall is one of the major keys to fungal identity. Fungi use their cell wall to sense the environment, and localize nutrients and competing microorganism. Pathogenic species additionally modify their cell walls to hide from a host’s immune system. With the growing number of fungal infections and alarming shortage of available drugs, we are in need of new approaches to fight pathogens. The cell wall seems to be a natural target, since animal host cells are devoid of it. The current knowledge about fungal cell wall components is often limited, and there is huge diversity both in structure and composition between species. In order to compare the distribution of diverse proteins involved in cell wall biosynthesis and maintenance, we performed sequence homology searches against 24 fungal proteomes from distinct taxonomic groups, all reported as human pathogens. This approach led to identification of 4014 cell wall proteins (CWPs), and enabled us to speculate about cell wall composition in recently sequenced pathogenic fungi with limited experimental information. We found large expansions of several CWP families, in particular taxa, and a number of new CWPs possibly involved in evading host immune recognition. Here, we present a comprehensive evolutionary history of fungal CWP families in the context of the fungal tree of life.
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