The prevalence of fungal diseases is increasing on a global scale, ranging from acute to systemic infections caused by commensal or pathogenic microorganisms, often associated with the immune status of the host. Morbidity and mortality rates remain high and our ability to treat fungal infections is challenged by a limited arsenal of antifungal agents and the emergence of drug resistant pathogens. There is a high demand for new approaches to elucidate the fungal mechanisms of pathogenesis and the interplay between host and pathogen to discover novel treatment options. Moreover, the need for improved drug efficacy and reduced host toxicity requires the identification and characterization of antifungal biological targets and molecular mechanisms of action. Mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics is a rapidly advancing field capable of addressing these priorities by providing comprehensive information on the dynamics of cellular processes, modifications, and interactions. In this Review, we focus on applications of MS-based proteomics in a diverse array of fungal pathogens and host systems to define and distinguish the molecular details of fungal pathogenesis and host–fungal interactions. We also explore the emerging role of MS-based proteomics in the discovery and development of novel antifungal therapies and provide insight into the future of MS-based proteomics in fungal biology.
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